The Boston Red Sox got a much-needed boost to their pitching with the emergence of Eduardo Rodriguez last year. 2020 could see an even better performance.
We’re going to have some very interesting memories in regards to the 2020 MLB season. As of now, there’s a very slim chance that we may see an 82-game regular season, a hair over half of what we would normally get for the 50% mark. Some players may look at that and start to sweat as they won’t have the time to hit any personal goals or financial ones. In my eyes, the short season can be a massive benefit to some, one of which is Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
Eduardo had the definition of a break-out season in 2019 and showed the baseball world that he can hang with the best of the best. In a year that saw the Red Sox fall incredibly short of the expectations, he was one of the few shining moments. While there isn’t a set date or even anything tangible in the way of a restart, the 2020 campaign will be the true test for E-Rod.
When the league reconvenes for this season, the Red Sox starting rotation is going to look very different. Chris Sale had to get Tommy John surgery and will miss all of 2020. David Price was shipped off to Hollywood and is now wearing Dodger blue. Finally, Rick Porcello’s desire to remain in Boston was denied and he signed with the Mets in free agency.
Three massive parts of the Red Sox rotation over recent history are gone and the lights will be even brighter on Eddie.
He went from being the number four and occasionally number five man in the rotation to now being the top dog. With each decision that the Red Sox made this past offseason E-Rod’s stock rose within the organization. Before we take a jump forward into 2020, let’s just remind ourselves at how awesome his 2019 truly was.
He finished the season at 19-6 through 203.1 IP with a 75/213 BB/K ratio. At the beginning of the season he set a goal of 200 IP and 20 wins, he was able to achieve one of his goals but fell just short of the wins. It wasn’t his doing though as he left the final game of the season with the win in hand until the Boston bullpen cracked under the pressure as they had done many times in 2019.
I’ve told the story a few times here and I’ll gladly tell it again. I had tickets to a Friday night game against the Orioles with Porcello on the mound. I went and sold them so I could buy tickets to the following night’s game to see E-Rod on the hill. It’s nothing against Pretty Ricky as I enjoyed his time in Boston, but what Eduardo was doing last year was damn magical, I just had to see it with my own eyes.
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Not only did he achieve that high benchmark of tossing the 200 innings, but he did so without missing any time whatsoever. His name didn’t appear on the IL once in 2019, which is shocking considering how many Red Sox players would eventually make their way onto it. His endurance and ability to stay healthy is a key factor in the success he saw last year and will be a key to his success in 2020.
Obviously, with the much shorter season, Eduardo won’t get a chance at the innings or even wins but he can still be a big player in the league. This, though, is the biggest reason that I feel he will prove that he can be the ace of the staff for the Red Sox. There’s going to be much less wear and tear on his body which will only give him more opportunity to pitch well.
Knowing that he won’t have to go for an entire season he may want to give it that extra something with each outing. Whether that be another inning or two a start or a little extra gas on his heater, he’ll have that chance. And with the rest of his starting compadres gone, this is the biggest moment of his career. He went from the back end of the rotation to number one with a bullet in a single offseason.
It’s still unclear as to what this season will look like as the MLB and MLBPA are still at different ends of the table. As negotiations continue though, players will need to get their bodies and minds ready for action. For the Red Sox, that means getting Eduardo Rodriguez in the best shape possible. If Boston wants to see any level of success in 2020, they’ll need El Gualo to be on top of his game.