It looked as though it might have been déjà vu all over again for the Boston Red Sox on Thursday.
Red Sox starter Steven Wright was shelled by the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night, giving up eight runs on eight hits including four home runs over just 1 1/3 innings of work en route to a 12-5 Boston loss.
Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park got off to a similar start, as starter Eduardo Rodriguez labored through a 33-pitch first inning in which he allowed a two-run shot to Andrew McCutchen.
This would be the extent of the rocky outing, though, as Rodriguez settled in and got through 5 1/3 innings while only allowing three additional hits and one unearned run. He also struck out eight batters, marking the third start of his last four in which he’s punched out eight or more.
Overcoming a rough start was critical for Rodriguez and the Red Sox, as it allowed them to be in a position to come away with a victory late in the ballgame. Having to tap into the bullpen for the bulk of the game would have been troubling for Boston, especially considering its loaded upcoming schedule in which it plays 23 games in the next 24 days.
For Rodriguez, specifically, it’s crucial for the Red Sox that he continues to build and string together strong outings. Boston already is without David Price for the foreseeable future, and Wright’s back-to-back dismal outcomings could be cause for concern for the Sox.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Pirates.
— Hanley Ramirez came up huge for Boston in the eighth inning when he walloped a two-run double to even the score at 3-3. Boston’s offense, specifically from a power standpoint, has gotten off to a slow start this season. If Ramirez starts to heat up after missing several games with the flu, it would be a much-needed lift for the Red Sox’s offense.
— Xander Bogaerts knocked in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning with an RBI single. The Red Sox shortstop was 2-for-4 on the day and was the only Boston batter to record a multi-hit game. Bogaert’s clutch hit came on a 1-2 count, marking his 84th two-strike hit since 2016, which leads the American League.
— Marco Hernandez continues to put together a strong case to be the Red Sox go-to utility man. The young infielder got the nod at third base Thursday in place of Pablo Sandoval and made his presence known. He’d knock in the first Red Sox run with an off-the-wall double in the second inning, the first RBI two-bagger in his career.
— After recording hits in Boston’s first eight games of the season, Dustin Pedroia went hitless Thursday.
— While Pedroia’s streak came to an end, Mitch Moreland preserved his. The Red Sox first baseman belted a double to deep center in the second inning, marking the seventh consecutive game in which he’s recorded a two-base hit. Considering the season still is very young, it comes as no surprise Moreland currently leads the league in doubles with eight.
— Craig Kimbrel locked up the Sox victory in the ninth inning. He’s now 19-for-19 in save opportunities at Fenway Park and has converted on his last 22 chances.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images