Ever since he took over as manager, Alex Cora has been a bit more critical of Eduardo Rodriguez than any of his other starting pitchers.

We now know why.

Rodriguez, though he’s entering his fifth season in the big leagues, is the least senior of all the Boston Red Sox starters. Since the Red Sox acquired the 25-year-old (who will be 26 shortly after Opening Day), folks have been tantalized by his upside, making his falters along the way all the more frustrating.

Cora never has been afraid to criticize Rodriguez to the media, and the southpaw always has taken it in stride and used it as motivation. On Monday, after a spring training start where Rodriguez was inefficient with his pitches, Cora called the pitcher out. Rodriguez took the mound again Saturday and mostly answered the call, keeping his pitch count where it needed to be.

After the game, Cora was asked about Rodriguez, and the skipper gave a pretty simple reason why he’s a bit harder on him than the others.

The logic checks out there, as Cora’s other starters have a demonstrated body of work that shows their missteps likely are anomalies, not consistencies. And since Rodriguez still is finding his way in the big leagues, it’s far easier for Cora to take that approach with him.

It appears to have worked, too, as Rodriguez last season (when not injured) was a pretty effective pitcher.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images