With just a four-man rotation entering Thursday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Boston Red Sox’ starting pitchers have little room for error.
Fortunately, Eduardo Rodriguez has been up to the challenge.
The Red Sox left-hander delivered yet another excellent outing Thursday at Miller Park, limiting the Brewers to one run on just three hits over six innings.
Rodriguez was in complete control throughout most of his appearance, at one point setting down 13 straight Milwaukee batters. He didn’t walk a batter while throwing 57 of his 89 pitches for strikes, and would have stayed in the game longer had manager John Farrell not pinch-hit for him in the top of the seventh inning.
In short: “Eddie” was “in his prime.”
Yet Rodriguez’s strong performance wasn’t anything new for the 24-year-old, who now has delivered four consecutive quality starts, the longest such streak of his career. Rodriguez has allowed just five earned runs total over his last 29 1/3 innings pitched and lowered his ERA to 2.80 after Thursday’s outing.
With Steven Wright out for the season and David Price still on the mend, the Red Sox need consistency from starting pitchers outside workhorses Chris Sale and Rick Porcello. And right now, Rodriguez is providing just that.
Let’s hit a few other notes from Boston’s win in Milwaukee:
— Craig Kimbrel continued his stellar stretch with an absolutely dominant performance out of the bullpen. Farrell called on his closer with one out in the eighth inning, and Kimbrel delivered, recording all of the final five outs via strikeout.
For those scoring at home, Kimbrel has struck out 12 of the last 13 batters he’s faced. No, that’s not a typo.
Kimbrel now has 31 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings pitched for an insane ratio of 17.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
— Boston enjoys playing while the sun’s still out. The Sox now are 11-4 in day games this season and have won nine of their last 10 matinee contests.
— Reliever Carson Smith will throw a bullpen Friday at Fenway Park as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery, manager John Farrell said Thursday.
“We’ll continue on probably through next week with that same schedule,” Farrell said, via WEEI.com. “I would think after that he’s close to facing some hitters.”
— Farrell’s update on Tyler Thornburg, whom the Red Sox placed on the 60-day disabled list last Thursday, wasn’t as positive.
“It’s been a little bit of a puzzle for all involved here, including Tyler, because the MRIs that he’s gone through, while showing a little bit of an impingement, hasn’t revealed anything more structural than that,” Farrell said, via WEEI.com. “So, while the inflammation has been kicked out of there and been subsided, he’s still not over the hump, so to speak, to the extent we would have anticipated.
“I can’t tell you there’s additional testing scheduled, but we’re still working through to get the arm strength built up.”
Thumbnail photo via Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports Images