Boston Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez has had the spotlight on him since being initially one of the best pitching prospects to ever come out of the country of Venezuela. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound southpaw struggled drastically in 2016, registering a 3-7 record with a 4.71 ERA, who continuously was inconsistent at hitting his spots with his tremendous arsenal of pitches.
This is a player, who’s has had an outstanding amount of hype around him since his days in the minor leagues in the Baltimore Orioles organization. Rodriguez was acquired by the Red Sox at the 2014 MLB trade deadline for former Red Sox lefty Andrew Miller. At the time the Red Sox were sellers after also getting rid of lefty Jon Lester and righty John Lackey in the same season.
The Orioles were in playoff contention so giving away a guy like Miller who was not as dominant as he is now for a potential ace pitching prospect in Rodriguez seemed like we were getting the better part of the trade, which at the end of the day we did because Miller went elsewhere after 2014 but that’s beside the point.
Saturday, Rodriguez took a 4-1 loss against the Detroit Tigers his first start of the 2017 season and signs showed that some of the inconsistencies he had in 2016 were still there. He allowed four earned runs on five hits while walking three in five innings. Now you might be thinking that I'm being too hard on the guy, but there were some key opportunities in Saturday’s game where he could of stayed dominant and went further in the game but didn’t because of a couple of careless mistakes.
Rodriguez first mistake was in the bottom frame of the third inning, by giving Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias a gift, which was a light fastball right up in his wheelhouse that he put 433 feet into the seats to give the Tigers the lead... which happened to snap the struggling shortstops 0-for-11 slump to start the season. In the fifth inning, Rodriguez did the same to another struggling hitter in catcher James McCann who put another inside fastball 434 feet into the seats, there’s no excuse for that.
On the bright side of things, Detroit's one thru five hitters combined for a struggling 1-for-17 in Saturday’s contest which is a real positive sign for Rodriguez. Also, if your team is only putting up one run of support then the fault can’t be on the pitcher.
Throughout these last couple of years, we’ve seen Rodriguez always battling tough with the top sluggers in a lineup, but tends to take the bottom half of the lineup on teams lightly. This is when I go back to saying if he eliminates those unnecessary mistakes that he did on Saturday with Iglesias and McCann, Rodriguez is going to be a guy who can absolutely give you quality start after quality start. Come October too, especially if Red Sox lefty David Price is not available, then the Red Sox are going to need Rodriguez to pitch some quality innings down the stretch.