Red Sox: Matt Barnes’ blown save costs Rodriguez monumental win
Today was the season finale for the Boston Red Sox and Eduardo Rodriguez was searching for win #20; sadly another blown save would keep that from happening.
Going into today there weren’t many positives when it came to this season for the Red Sox. This afternoon, however, they had their ace on the mound with an opportunity to earn his 20th win of the season. Eduardo Rodriguez has been the rock of the pitching staff this year and it was his time to shine in the season finale. With one last chance to achieve a fantastic milestone, it just wasn’t meant to be.
Now, I’m not going to be the most kind to Matt Barnes as I go further into this breakdown, but I also won’t be unnecessarily mean either. I’m a fan of Barnes and what he’s done the past two seasons for the Red Sox. But this season hasn’t been the kindest to him as the calendar has progressed towards October and today was just another chapter in that story. This afternoon was about E-Rod though and he didn’t miss his chance to shine.
The southpaw came out dealing and would quickly get three K’s through two innings of work. He would run into a roadblock in the third though as Baltimore was able to use some strong at-bats to put three runs on the board. E-Rod also didn’t get much help from the offense as they had the chance to put the game out of reach but couldn’t capitalize on a bases-loaded zero outs situation.
Boston would tie it and eventually go ahead thanks to the bats of Christian Vazquez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers. Of course, it was those three that would do the damage just as they’ve done all season long.
Then came the seventh and Eduardo’s final frame of work. He would end his night earning his eighth strikeout with a 95 MPH fastball. He would hand the ball over to Barnes to handle the eighth inning and that’s when things began to unravel.
It would take Barnes more than 30 pitches to record his three outs and in that time he would also allow the Orioles to tie the game. The tying run was on base due to a rare Bogaerts error, but it was the pitching of Barnes that allowed him to cross the plate. He danced around the strike zone and instead of attacking hitters it felt like he was trying to be crafty. He would get the much-coveted two strikes but then couldn’t seal the deal.
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We’ve heard all season about the blown saves of the Red Sox and how this bullpen was awful. At times, they absolutely were but they could also be damn near unhittable for stretches. After the All-Star break, the Sox pen was one of the best in the league, but their heavy workload this year wouldn’t allow them to be successful for too long.
Barnes was a victim of that workload as he would see his highest totals during the summer months. He didn’t reach his season-high as he finished with 64.1 IP which is 5.1 short of his highest mark. Going into this season it was thought that Barnes could become the closer for the Red Sox but those hopes wouldn’t last long. With a more rigid plan for his role in 2020, he may become the reliever they want him to be.
I can’t fully blame Matty B for Rodriguez not getting the win today as the lefty didn’t do himself any favors either. Yeah, he went for seven innings and struck out eight, but he also gave up three runs.
With the Red Sox offense sputtering as of late, spotting the other team runs isn’t the best gameplan to get yourself a win. As much as I want to get red in the face towards Barnes I have to also point the finger at Eddie Aces as he was the one that initially got Baltimore into the game.
Eduardo Rodriguez was nothing short of spectacular this season. More often than not he was the starter that Alex Cora could count on to get a tally in the win column. It’s clear that the work he put in during the offseason paid dividends and allowed E-Rod to become the foundation of this starting rotation. If he continues to follow the work ethic he’s shown in 2019 then the sky is the limit for his 2020 campaign.
The bottom line is that Barnes came in with the game on the line as well as E-Rod’s 20th win of the year and he couldn’t get the job done. Boston’s pitching staff isn’t the strongest and prospects are growing on trees, so his job should be safe. However, with the owners clearly wanting to shake things up, I don’t know just how many truly are safe. It’s going to be a wild offseason with the Red Sox surely making the moves they feel necessary to contend again in 2020.