Eduardo Rodriguez has been one of the most valuable Red Sox players
Over the past few seasons, there have been few Boston Red Sox players that have been as consistently good as Eduardo Rodriguez has when he’s been healthy. The 28-year-old missed the 2020 MLB season after being diagnosed with myocarditis, after missing the start of the season due to testing positively for Covid-19. However, Rodriguez is back with the Sox to start 2021 and is looking as good as ever. After a number of personnel changes, and Chris Sale‘s continued absence, E-Rod remains a huge part of this pitching staff and the ball club overall.
Rodriguez maintained a sub-four ERA in both 2018 and 2019, posting almost identical numbers with a 3.82 ERA and 3.81 ERA, respectively. After missing last season, he looks ready to do the same sort of thing this time out.
E-Rod has earned the win in all three of his outings thus far this season. He’s pitched 16 innings, allowing 12 hits, six runs, and 18 strikeouts. He looks as good as ever, which is something the Red Sox are going to be heavily reliant on down the stretch, with a rotation nowhere near as strong as recent years.
Both Rodriguez and Nathan Eovaldi have had solid starts – something you’d expect when you see that the Sox are an extremely steady 12-6 through their first 18 games. With the rest of the rotation playing their part, this Sox side could realistically more than exceed expectations. What we do know from recent memory is that when E-Rod is good, the Red Sox tend to follow suit. In the lefty’s last 20 starts, Boston has gone 17-3 and they are 48-12 since the start of the 2018 season.
Rodriguez has played a big part in Boston’s success in recent years. Since being traded to the Red Sox from the Baltimore Orioles, he’s established himself as a dominant major league pitcher. He’s had his fair share of injuries, and has suffered from a couple of difficult stretches, but has overall been an incredibly reliable player for this side.
Rodriguez is under contract with the Sox for a bit of a steal at $8.3 million for the year. His all-around dominance and versatility on the mound gives the Sox a different kind of outlook on days when he is pitching. His four-seam, cutter, and changeup have helped him find success early on this season, with more breaking balls up his sleeve down the stretch.
Tuesday’s start against Toronto was E-Rod’s first start at Fenway Park in over a year and a half, and it’s fair to say that he made the most of it, going six full innings and allowing just three hits. Unfortunately, two of those hits were solo bombs. Bo Bichette took him deep in the fourth before Randal Grichuk did the same to start the seventh. Rodriguez shouldn’t have really needed to go back out there, but due to such a low pitch count, you can definitely see why Alex Cora decided to stick with him. Still, it was an impressive pitching display from Boston’s stand-in ace.
Rodriguez’s next start is scheduled for the last of a four-game set at home to Seattle, as the Sox face their first west coast opponent of the season – another team who is off to a strong start. If Rodriguez’s start to the season is anything to go by, we’re in for another big year from him, and that’ll be huge for the direction that this entire team is going to be going in this season.