Eduardo Rodriguez made his major league debut, and it was exactly what the Red Sox needed from their young gun. Rodriguez pitched 7.2 strong innings, allowing 0 runs on just 3 hits and 7 strikeouts. So, how exactly was he able to do it?
According to NESN, he used 29 pitches the first time through the Texas Rangers lineup, and of those 29 pitches, 24 were fastballs. And he had success with his fastball because he was able to locate his pitches extremely well. The 2nd time through the lineup, he mixed in his secondary pitches to great effect, throwing only 20 fastballs in 40 pitches through the 2nd time around, per NESN. The 3rd time around, he went back to the fastball and again, he located the ball extremely well. That was critical because once you start getting into the later innings, you get tired and your velocity isn’t as sharp, so location becomes even more important.
And, of course, NESN is quick to point out that some of the credit has to go to Blake Swihart, who looked like a veteran in calling the game last night, which I would agree with. But it ultimately came down to Rodriguez executing his pitches, which he did a fantastic job with all night long against a tough Texas Rangers lineup.
I sincerely hope the Red Sox keep this guy up and give him more of a chance to show his stuff. He doesn’t solve all the Red Sox problems, but one of the main concerns is the starting pitching right now, and he looks like he could fill in quite nicely as a big league starter. This is only one start, but if he keeps this up, he could well turn into a top-of-the-rotation type pitcher. He definitely has the stuff to accomplish that, should he keep this up. Of course, the reverse could happen and he could struggle mightily in his next few starts, but I hope not. This kid has the stuff to be great.