The key to victory for the Boston Red Sox when Eduardo Rodriguez takes the mound is for the lefty to last at least six innings.
The Los Angeles Dodgers may have baseball’s best record but the Boston Red Sox served them a reminder of who beat them in last year’s World Series with a decisive win Friday night at Fenway.
Eduardo Rodriguez pitched his best game of the season, limiting the Dodgers to one run over seven innings while matching his season-high with 10 strikeouts. The lefty earned his 10th win of the season, tied for fourth in the American League.
The win total is obviously inflated by the best run support in the majors, as the Red Sox are scoring 7.58 runs per game with Rodriguez on the mound. What’s more notable is that he lasted seven innings for only the fourth time this season.
Efficiency has always been an issue for Rodriguez, which explains why he has averaged fewer than six innings per start in his career. He gets himself into too many deep counts by not being aggressive enough to put away batters, leading to a rapidly rising pitch count. Rodriguez can be cruising along for a handful of frames before quickly unraveling as his arm begins to tire.
When E-Rod makes it through at least six innings, Boston is unbeatable. At least they have been this season. The Red Sox improved to 10-0 this year when Rodriguez tosses 6+ innings.
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Eight of Rodriguez’ 10 wins have come in games where he lasted at least six innings. He earned the win despite lasting fewer than six on two other occasions. Rodriguez was shelled for five runs by the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies in games where he lasted 6+ innings but the Red Sox managed to win those games while Rodriguez settled for a no-decision.
The key to victory with Rodriguez on the mound is for him to last deep into games. While that’s been a rarity for most of his career, he’s been showing signs of improvement lately. Rodriguez has lasted seven innings in three of his last six starts, matching his total over his previous 65 starts dating back to September 2016.
Rodriguez has pitched well in general lately following a rocky start to the season. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in each of his last three starts and has lowered his ERA from 5.04 to 4.43 since the end of May.
If he keeps this up, Rodriguez won’t need to rely on his offense scoring 7+ runs for him to “earn” his wins. Maybe he can afford to share some of that run support with Chris Sale.
Boston is riding a five-game winning streak and has moved within a game of a playoff spot. Rodriguez is hardly their most consistent pitcher but he’s been racking up wins to help keep this team in the postseason hunt.