The Red Sox really needed a lights-out performance from their bullpen when Eduardo Rodriguez left in the second inning against the Yankees, and that’s exactly what they got.
Phillips Valdez shined just hours after being recalled from Triple-A Worcester, with seven strikeouts over three innings. All told, the bullpen amassed 11 strikeouts and gave up one earned run and four hits.
“The bullpen’s been an important piece for our success this year,” Devers told reporters (via an interpreter) over Zoom after the game. “They’ve really been the key to everything that we’re doing. It was great to see what they were able to do, especially Valdez and all the other guys. It was a good win for us, especially knowing that we needed this win.”
Manager Alex Cora had a lot of high praise for what Valdez did on the mound.
“Valdy was amazing. He came in throwing 95, sinkers, and obviously he has a good changeup,” Cora said after the game. “We needed that and more. Throughout the season, things happen, obviously. He’s a big league pitcher. He was amazing.”
Cora added: “The offense did an amazing job but I think tonight the story is about the bullpen. It was a total team effort, very gratifying.”
While it’s certainly not ideal to lose a starting pitcher so early in the game, the bullpen did a fine job keeping the Yankees at bay.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Red Sox-Yankees game:
— A scary moment occurred for Rodriguez in the second inning.
The southpaw ran into a bit of trouble and had runners on second and third with no outs when he hunched over in obvious pain. There was no clear injury, and with his bout with myocarditis last year, concerns certainly were raised.
But Rodriguez left with migraine symptoms.
“He had some migraine,” Cora said. “I saw the first inning, he was very locked in, very serious. He’s usually very talkative, but he was in the corner not talking to people. Hopefully, this is something that we can contain.”
— It’s unclear if Rodriguez will make his next start, but Cora is just concerned about taking care of his players.
“Now we just have to see how he reacts tonight, how he feels (Saturday) and we go from there,” Cora said. “If he has to miss a start, he misses it. We got to be very careful with him.”
— Devers hit his 100th career home run, and has been incredibly successful against the Yankees. In fact, according to Red Sox Notes on Twitter, Devers has 12 homers against New York before turning 25 — tied for second-most with Babe Ruth.
Ted Williams holds the record with 20.
“He’s one of the best third basemen in the big leagues and he’s only 24,” Cora said. “He’s still working hard to get better not only offensively, but defensively.”
— The Red Sox have a chance to win the series Saturday afternoon when Nathan Eovaldi takes the hill. First pitch from Fenway Park is set for 4:05 p.m. ET.