Dustin Pedroia Activated from DL

Red Sox fans got a welcome sight at last night’s game, as Dustin Pedroia was activated from the 15-day disabled list before last night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Pedroia went 1-4 in his 1st game back since July 23rd, when he went on the DL for the second time this season.

Dustin Pedroia’s hit, a double, was one of 4 Red Sox hits last night in a 5-1 loss in 10Dustin Pedroia innings against the Blue Jays. Torey Lovulllo told MassLive.com that Pedroia didn’t argue when he was taken out after the 9th inning, which Lovullo said he was anticipating. Lovullo also said that the team will reevaluate Dustin Pedroia on a day-to-day basis, according to MassLive, but also pointed out that he saw the ball well at the plate.

I fully expect Dustin Pedroia to keep playing for the rest of the season because that’s the way he operates. Dustin Pedroia is a competitor, and I’m sure it killed him to be taken out in a tight game like Tuesday’s game, even if it was a meaningless game for the Red Sox. Even so, you don’t want to lose the face of your franchise for even part of next season, and Pedroia was placed on the DL for a second time this season because he was rushed back from his first injury. There’s no chance realistically of the Red Sox making the playoffs, even though Pedey might feel otherwise (at least that he’s told the Boston Herald), but I would hhate to lose Dustin to a major injury while he’s going after a ball in a game that doesn’t mean anything.

One thing that Dustin Pedroia will be able to do in the last 3 weeks – 1 month of the season is be a mentor for some of the young guys, and start to set the tone for the 2016 season. The 2015 season is lost, and it’s about setting up the team for success next season, and Dustin Pedroia figures to be a big part of the team’s plans for next season.

Eduardo Rodriguez Innings Limit Near

Eduardo Rodriguez has a bright future with the Red Sox and clearly the team knows this. Rodriguez will skip his next start because he has thrown 140.2 innings between Triple-A Pawtucket and the Boston Red Sox this season, only 4.1 innings of his career high in a season of 145, according to NESN.

The Red Sox are being smart here—the last thing the team needs is a potential top-of- Eduardo Rodriguezthe-rotation starter throwing out his arm and going in for Tommy John Surgery before he even has a chance to reach his full potential. One bad injury could mess up his whole career, which would be unfortunate for both Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox organization. Torey Lovullo told NESN that he’s going to keep an eye on Rodriguez, as well as Henry Owens, since the team doesn’t want to put either guy in harms way.

Eduardo Rodriguez has a 7-5 record and a 4.39 ERA in 16 big league starts. He’s had his ups and downs as a major leaguer, but he has shown flashes of what he can bring to the table. When he’s on, he mixes up his pitches well—like he did in his debut against the Texas Rangers back in May. He has also been roughed up a few times, like in the game against the Miami Marlins a few weeks ago when he gave up 8 runs.

Overall, though, I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him, and I like the move to limit his innings and save him for next season. The team has nothing to play for and absolutely no reason to push him harder than necessary. If they over-extend him, it’ll leave me wondering “Why did they need to do that?” If they push him needlessly, it’ll derail the career of a promising talent for a year for nothing. The team has a pretty big sample size already to look at and analyze, so I would say let him go out there once or twice, then shut him down after that. But, I’m not a general manager or a manager, so my opinion won’t matter to the guys who will eventually have to make the decision. If anyone from the Red Sox management does happen to read this, do the right thing. Don’t push Rodriguez any more than necessary this year, please.

Boston Pressure Getting to Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez started his career with one of the greatest starts for a rookie in Boston Red Sox history.  With the way that the Red Sox season has been going, it was good to see something that could finally be looked at as a positive for the team.  But as prior players have shown, it is not easy playing in Boston, especially when there are high expectations put on you.  After seeing two more solid starts following his debut, Rodriguez had one of the worst pitching performances for the Sox this season.  And now, Sox fans are starting to think that these early expectations may have come a bit too early.

In his debut on May 28, Rodriguez tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Texas Eduardo RodriguezRangers in a 5-1 victory.  He gave up only three hits and two walks while striking out seven batters.  His delivery looked great coming from a 6′ 2″ left-handed position, and he was simply dominant.  He followed this up with two more great starts against the Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles, giving up only one run combined.  But could this just be a case of the opposing batters not knowing much about him?

In his time in the Minors, Rodriguez pitched for eight teams.  He recorded a 29-30 overall record, and had a 3.23 ERA with five complete games.  These are not outstanding numbers, but with the way that the Boston media and fans were portraying him, it seemed like he should have been a stud as a minor league pitcher.  This just wasn’t the case though.  And following his most recent start, it seems like reality is starting to check in for the young lefty.

In that start against the Toronto Blue Jays, Rodriguez got his first loss of his major league career.  He only pitched 4 2/3 innings while giving up eight hits and nine runs in a 13-5 loss.  Now I’m not saying that this is what we should expect to see from him in the future, but I think it brought us all as Red Sox fans back down to earth.

Boston is not an easy place for professional athletes.  You need to be a special person to deal with the expectations and criticisms that come along with playing here.  Because of all the success that our teams have had in the recent past, we expect to see greatness all the time, especially if we’ve seen it early in a particular players career.  Rodriguez is a perfect example of this.  Obviously there have been many that have lived up to these expectations, but more that have not.  Rodriguez has his next start on June 18, and let’s hope that he can get back to his dominant ways, and not become one of the many duds in Boston sports history.

Blake Swihart’s Showing Potential

After hitting his first Major League career home run last Thursday night in a loss to the Minnesota Twins, the future is looking bright for Blake Swihart.  Swihart was selected by the Sox in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft, and now he is beginning to show what he could bring to the franchise.  He is a 23-year-old switch-hitting catcher who is more known for his good defense behind the plate, but if he can add some solid offense to his game, there should be nothing stopping him from becoming the future every day catcher for the Sox.

The Red Sox have been looking for someone to fill the catcher spot since the retirement ofblake swihart Boston great Jason Varitek.  Since Varitek retired in 2011, the Sox have experimented with a couple of catchers.  They even won a World Series in 2013 with two catchers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross. But something tells me that John Farrell and the Red Sox front office would love to find a young catcher that they can lock up for years to come.

Swihart was called up from the Minors on May 2.  During his short time in the Majors, he is hitting .218 with three doubles, eight RBI, and the one home run.  Not all-star numbers or even Rookie Of The Year numbers, but they are solid stats for a catcher who is here more for his defense.  Also, with his one home run, Swihart is the youngest Red Sox catcher since Rich Gedman in 1982 to hit a home run, proving that he has a long career ahead of him.

His defensive numbers are very impressive though.  While on the Red Sox, Swihart is error-less and has caught five runners trying to steal.  In the minors, he has a .989 fielding percentage, and only recorded 26 errors in 279 games.  These are numbers that show the true potential that he brings to the table.

In a league that does not have many superstar catchers, every team is always looking for one who can be reliable defensively behind the plate, and also not be a liability as a hitter. The Red Sox and their fans know that Swihart is already reliable behind the plate, and after finally seeing the type of hitter he could become, the Sox are hoping they don’t have to look any further to find their franchise catcher.

Eduardo Rodriguez Shines in Debut

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,Eduardo Rodriguez 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.

Will Middlebrooks Struggling Since Callup

Will MiddlebrooksSure, it’s only 12 been games since Will Middlebrooks was activated on August 1, but the third baseman has yet to hit a home run or show any sort of power since making his return to the Boston Red Sox after fracturing a finger in his right hand in May.

With players like Garin Cecchini and even Brock Holt waiting in the wings, Middlebrooks really needs to start showing signs of improvement at the plate.

In 41 at-bats entering August 18, the 26-year-old has hit .171 with a .220 slugging percentage and a .209 OBP. The .429 OPS is the worst among players on the team with the same amount of games/at-bats since the All-Star break.

The 10 strikeouts to two walks is right around his career average, but Middlebrooks has really been better at putting together good at-bats by taking pitches he used to swing at. He may be swinging through a lot of fastballs in the zone that he used to crush, but eventually those balls should be flying off his bat.

The plate approach is one sign that he is working on becoming a better overall hitter all while dealing with swelling and pain in the same fractured finger.

With six weeks left in the season, Middlebrooks needs to just show the Red Sox he can stay healthy while also being a power source towards the bottom of the lineup. If that means still striking out at a high rate and having a batting average that isn’t something to write home about, then the team should be all for it, especially if he keeps the long at-bats going.

The pop will eventually come for the right-handed slugger and once he hits his first since his activation more should come. First he has to show that he can stay on the field for an extended period of time.