Eduardo Rodriguez was racking up win after win to start the 2018 season, but the left-hander has come back down to Earth in his last two starts.
After getting shelled in his last outing against the Seattle Mariners, Rodriguez turned in another forgettable performance in the Boston Red Sox’s series opener against the New York Yankees. The southpaw battled through six innings, but his five runs allowed on seven hits doomed the Red Sox in their 8-1 loss at Yankee Stadium.
The most noteworthy takeaway from Rodriguez’s start against the Yankees was his pitch selection. Of his 95 pitches, Rodriguez only threw seven changeups, which arguably is the best pitch in his arsenal. After the game, Rodriguez acknowledged that he needs to stray from the approach he used Friday.
“It’s just something that I have to change and use it more,” Rodriguez said, as seen on NESN’s Red Sox postgame coverage. “But like I said, I just missed a couple on the plate and they made an adjustment.”
It also was surprising to see Rodriguez struggle against the Yankees, a team he historically has pitched well against throughout his career. Still, the 25-year-old denies feeling a heightened sense of pressure going up against the Red Sox’s division rival.
“We have to win games, no matter who we’re facing,” Rodriguez said. “We just have to win the game, no matter if it’s the Yankees or another team.”
With Steven Wright and Drew Pomeranz both battling injuries, the Red Sox will need Rodriguez to perform at the best of his ability as they fight for the pennant.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees game:
— Steve Pearce impressed in his Red Sox debut. The veteran utility man went 2-for-4 at the plate, including a double on his first swing in a Boston uniform.
— Red Sox relief pitcher Justin Haley was college teammates with Aaron Judge at Fresno State. In their first regular-season meeting, the Yankees star took Haley deep for a two-run shot in the seventh inning to put the game out of reach.
— Boston’s bats finally cooled down. After scoring four runs or more in six of their last seven games entering Friday, Boston managed to record only six hits against the Yanks.
— Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 and has logged at least one hit in seven of his last eight games.
— The Yankees reclaimed first place in the American League East by virtue of percentage points.