Eduardo Rodriguez made his first start of the year for the Red Sox after returning from the DL for a knee injury, and it was a little bit of good and a little bit of bad from him vs. the Rays on Sunday.
Rodriguez allowed 5 hits (1 HR) and 3 runs. He struggled with his command a bit, giving up 2 walks and needing 92 pitches to get through just 3.2 innings. The movement on his pitches was a little lackluster, as well, as his fastball looked a little flat and his changeup lacked bite. The cold weather could be to blame for that to a certain extent; it’s very difficult to get a good feel on the call when you’re trying to just keep your fingers warm, and it’s likely that rust also played a part as well.
(Photo credit: Boston Sports Extra)
We did see some good things from E-Rod, though. He racked up 7 K’s, and his velocity was good, with his fastball averaging almost 94 mph and no pitch of his averaging less than 84 mph. He also located his pitches pretty well, and he kept his pitch selection fairly varied (62% fastballs, 25% changeups, 9% cutters, and 4% sliders). He was unlucky at times, too. Only 11% of his pitches were hit hard, and many of the hits he gave up were simply softly hit to places where the defense wasn’t. So, all-in-all, it was a pretty good outing for his first go around.
Rodriguez seems to have inherited a spot in the rotation based on reputation and experience alone, but with the newly found starting pitching depth for the Red Sox (Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez have both shown well for themselves in limited time), he’s going to have to improve upon his initial display to keep that place locked down.