Eduardo Rodriguez continues to be the second-best pitcher in the Boston Red Sox’s rotation.
The left-hander tossed eight strong innings Sunday during the Red Sox’s 12-3 win over the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. He gave the bullpen a much-needed day off, which is something Drew Pomeranz and the revolving door of No. 5 starters have not consistently been able to do.
Rodriguez now is 3-1 on the season with a 3.10 ERA. He’s also averaging 10.23 strikeouts per nine innings in eight starts. The 24-year-old has shown improvement in his ability to be efficient during his starts, and that showed Sunday when Rodriguez threw just 98 pitches in his eight innings of work.
“The big thing (Sunday) was taking advantage of them being aggressive,” Rodriguez said on NESN’s “Red Sox Extra Innings Live.” “I just tried to keep the ball around the plate and go deep into the game.”
While Chris Sale undoubtedly is Boston’s ace, Rodriguez has given stability to a starting rotation whose fourth and fifth starters have struggled mightily. He now has thrown six straight quality starts, which is the longest stretch of his career. He is 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA and an opponent batting average of .197 over that span, and the lefty credits his hot start to the feel he has for his pitches.
“I just feel more comfortable,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like I can throw all my pitches where I want them, and that’s what’s given me the good start.”
As reigning American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello tries to find his form from last year, and David Price works his way back from injury, Rodriguez’s confidence and consistency have given the Red Sox’s rotation a huge lift.
Here are more notes from Red Sox vs. Athletics
— The Red Sox recalled right-handed pitcher Brandon Workman before Sunday’s game against the Athletics. Noe Ramirez was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Workman.
— Drew Pomeranz will make his next start on Thursday against the Texas Rangers as the Red Sox have elected to skip Hector Velazquez’s spot in the rotation. Velazquez didn’t fare well in his spot start Friday against the A’s.
— Brock Holt hit his second home run of his rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday.
— Mitch Moreland has homered in three consecutive games for the first time in his career. He now has hit 14 home runs in 45 career games in Oakland, which are more than any visiting player since the start of the 2010 season.
— Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-3 in his third rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket.
Thumbnail photo via Neville E. Guard/USA TODAY Sports Images
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