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The 22-year-old lefty was simply superb, tossing one of the best pitched games of the season. He was poised and wasted no time in attacking the strike zone. Through the first four innings, he allowed only one hit on 43 pitches. He allowed only four baserunners through his first seven innings and finished with a 7.2-3-0-2-7, 105 line. He threw 68 strikes (65%).
I don't think I've been truly excited by a game like this all season.
According to Jon Shestakofsky, Boston's Manager of Media Relations & Baseball Information:
"At 7.2 innings, Eduardo Rodriguez has the longest scoreless outing by a Red Sox in his major league debut since Billy Rohr in 1967 (9.0 IP)."(Rodriguez was also the youngest Red Sox pitcher to make his debut on the road since 21-year-old Roger Clemens in 1985. Billy Rohr was 21 when he won in his debut in New York against the Yankees on April 14, 1967.)
"Rodriguez is 1st MLB left-hander since Karl Spooner in 1954 to have scoreless debut longer than 7.0 IP with 7+ SO and no more than 3 hits."
And the offense came alive for him, totaling 13 hits, five walks, and five runs, despite hitting into five double plays. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia each had three hits. Blake Swihart singled twice and drove in two runs and Hanley Ramirez hit a solo home run and a double.
Rodriguez relied almost exclusively on his fastball the first time through the Rangers' lineup, using his cutter and slider more often later in the game. He retired the side in order in the first, striking out price fielder on a slider for the third out. Josh Hamilton doubled with one out in the second, but Rodriguez struck out Mitch Moreland and got Elvis Andrus on a fly to center. Texas' next baserunner came with two outs in the fifth, when Andrus walked; Rodriguez recorded three strikeouts in that frame.
Rodriguez seemed to be finished after the seventh (and 90 pitches) - he gave a little nod to the heavens when he left the mound - but he was back out there for the eighth. He quickly struck out the first two batters before allowing a walk and a single. Tommy Layne came in and struck out Shin-Soo Choo to end the inning. Layne gave up one run in the ninth and Farrell called on Koji Uehara to get the final out. Uehara threw only one pitch - and Andrus flied to Castillo in deep right.
Boston scored in the fifth on singles from Swihart, Pedroia, and Betts. Ramirez went deep to open the sixth. The Red Sox rallied with two down in the eighth. Mike Napoli walked against Tanner Scheppers. Sam Freeman came in and faced four batters - he did not retire any of them. He hit Brock Holt and walked Carlos Peguero. With the bases loaded, Swihart singled in two runs and Rusney Castillo's single brought in a third run.
Peguero, recently acquired from the Rangers, was in the game because Xander Bogaerts was drilled near the left wrist by a pitch in the second inning. He played in the field for two innings before leaving the game.
Eduardo Rodriguez / Nick Martinez
Pedroia, 2BRodriguez, 22, will be making his major league debut. With the Red Sox currently in a stretch of 20 games without a day off - their next off day is June 8 - Rodriguez will give the rotation an extra day of rest. Manager John Farrell said that the lefty would be sent back to Pawtucket after the game.
Rodriguez has a 2.98 ERA in eight starts for the PawSox and has averaged almost one strikeout per inning (44 in 48.1 IP). He has pitched at least six innings in five of his eight starts.
Sox Prospects lists him as Boston's #4 prospect (he was acquired from Baltimore in the Andrew Miller trade last July):
Mechanics: Stands middle of the rubber. Hands set just above the belt. High leg drive up to elbow generating power. Slight knee bend on posting leg over the rubber. Will often drift toward home early. Three-quarters arm slot. Long arm action in back. Easy, loose arm. Plus arm speed. Smooth delivery. Stays on-line towards the plate. Gets himself in good fielding position.
Fastball: 91-94 mph. Has touched 97 mph. Plus fastball. Average command and control. Uses both side of the plate effectively. Fastball can be fairly straight and lack movement, but shows occasional arm-side tail.
Changeup: 84-86 mph. Future plus potential. Hard, sinking fade away from left-handed hitters. Willingness to throw in any count and to both sides of the plate. Throws most comfortably in the upper velocity range where he gets his best movement on the pitch. Orioles organization reportedly tried to get him to throw the pitch in the low 80s, but after trade began throwing it harder, which is more comfortable for him. Sells pitch well without slowing arm speed.
Slider: 82-85 mph. Solid-average potential. Ability to throw for strikes to both sides of the plate. Two-plane movement. Lacks consistency and bite. ...
Summation: Ceiling of a quality number three starter. Three average-to-above-average pitch mix. Pitches with confidence and poise. Working hard to improve. Works in and out and stays around the plate. Improving slider and consistency with the pitch will be key to future success.
For the Rangers, Martinez has allowed three earned runs or fewer in his last 15 starts, dating back to last August. So, he's due to get rocked.