Eduardo Rodriguez has made just three starts for the Boston Red Sox this season, and they haven’t been particularly great. Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins was a good example.
The Red Sox’s offense overshadowed the left-hander’s shaky outing in the team’s 15-4 win, but it’s certainly something Boston will want to address. Rodriguez went just 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits — including a three-run homer — with four walks and four strikeouts.
So, should the Red Sox be concerned about Rodriguez?
The short answer to that question is no. The 23-year-old spent the first two months of the season on the disabled list, so it’s expected he might have some issues settling back in, especially considering he’s adapting himself to wearing a knee brace. His velocity was fine Saturday, with his fastball staying in the mid-90’s and reaching 96 mph at times. Plus, Rodriguez gave up just two runs over six innings to a potent Baltimore Orioles lineup on May 31 in his first start back in the majors.
But if anything is troubling, it’s that Rodriguez isn’t using his secondary pitches.
The southpaw has been relying heavily on his fastball this season, and that was the case Saturday, as well. Of the 93 pitches Rodriguez threw, 67 were fastballs, while 15 were changeups and only 11 were sliders. His fastballs aren’t always extremely effective, either, as they produced only four swing-and-misses Saturday, for example.
Rodriguez obviously still has time to improve, and it’s certainly not crazy to think he will. But if he doesn’t start using the other pitches in his arsenal, we might not see his full potential.
Here are some more notes from Saturday’s game.
— Xander Bogaerts had another four-hit game, going 4-for-5 with a double, a two-run homer, four runs and three RBIs. The shortstop now is batting .358, and he got some high praise from teammate David Ortiz.
— Bogaerts also executed some beautiful baserunning. The 23-year-old beat the throw on a double play in the sixth and apparently knew he was going to because he just kept running to third base when he saw it was unmanned.
— The Red Sox now are 40-1 in games in which they’ve scored five runs or more. That also means they’ve scored five runs or more in over two-thirds of their 61 games. Boston’s offense simply is producing at an incredible rate, leading the league in runs (365), hits (641), doubles (158), RBIs (350), average (.293), slugging percentage (.485) and OPS (.842).
Did you get all that?
— Boston selected bench coach Torey Lovullo’s son, Nick, in the 20th round of the MLB draft. Nick Lovullo is a senior shortstop out of Holy Cross and batted .225 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 26 RBIs in 56 games for the Crusaders.
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