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.

Henry Owens to Stay in Rotation

Henry Owens was (mostly) not at fault after Tuesday’s blowout 13-3 loss to the New York Yankees. He left after 5+ solid innings with runners on 2nd and 3rd, 0 outs, and a 2-1 lead. The implosion that followed was largely a result of bad bullpen work, starting with Robbie Ross and going downhill from there.

At one point, Owens had set down 12 in a row after struggling in the first inning, when he Henry Owensthrew 34 pitches. He ended up throwing 96 pitches and striking out 5, and secured his place in the rotation for the time being according. Part of it was the flashes of promise he showed, but most of it was due to the team’s circumstances—both Clay Buchholz and Rick Porcello are on the DL, so Henry Owens will have a shot to show more of what he can do.

John Farrell came away from Henry Owens’ start with good things to say as well, telling the Boston Globe that Henry Owens seemed to keep the emotion of the moment in check and made some quality pitches. To Owens’ credit, Farrell is correct in his assessment in this case. The pressure of a playoff race may be off, but making your major league debut against the Yankees in New York is always a tough task and Henry Owens handled it pretty well.

I was personally pretty happy with what I saw from Henry Owens, as he did show that he had pretty promising stuff. His change up looked pretty good at times and he mixed it in well with his fastball. He also did well to pitch out of a tough first inning and limit the damage, and to settle in after that tough first inning. He showed us a good glimpse of things to come. I’m not going to go so far as to say he’s the team’s savior, but he’s one of the Red Sox top prospects for a reason, and he showed us why.

He joins Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson as the 3rd lefty to make his major league debut this season. Nowhere to go but up from here.

Henry Owens Makes Debut Against Yankees

Finally, something to look forward to. Henry Owens, highly touted Red Sox pitching prospect, was set to make his season debut against the New York Yankees on tonight, according to MassLive.com. He has a 3-8 record, but that’s not indicative of how well he has pitched—he has a 3.16 ERA this season, 103 strikeouts, and opponents are hitting under .200 against him, .193 to be exact. In 96 career minor league appearances, he has a 3.30 ERA, and 572 strikeouts to 230 walks.

These are the things that will make this season worth watching until the end. At the very Henry Owensleast, the team can give opportunities to these young guys, since any pressure of a playoff race is off and the games are meaningless. At least if Henry Owens has a tough outing, Red Sox fans won’t get frustrated because we’re losing ground in the playoff hunt, since we’re pretty much out of playoff contention, barring a major miracle.

So, why bring him up now? Part of John Farrell’s reasoning in bringing Henry Owens up now, according to MassLive, is that the Yankees have struggled this season with left-handed pitching, which makes sense. I’m guessing most of it has to do with the fact that the Red Sox are just about done, as far as playing meaningful baseball goes, so they might as well see what they have down on the farm. Maybe Henry Owens can spoil the Yankees party a little bit with a solid performance. The Yankees currently sit atop the AL East, 6 games ahead of the Orioles and Blue Jays. If Henry Owens goes out on his debut and shuts down the Yankees, that will at least provide some small comfort to a few Red Sox fans, myself included. The Red Sox won’t win anything this year, but at least Henry Owens can offer us a glimpse of what the future holds.

Here’s to hoping he can give Red Sox fans a small ray of hope.

John Farrell Calls Out Pablo Sandoval’s Weight

The 2015 Red Sox cannot be summed up in just a sentence of phrase. The frustration from the fan base and players has now a visible effect on manager John Farrell. Farrell is usually a stay the course, the players will figure it out, type manager but over the last week he has not shied away from holding his players accountable.

David Ortiz did not run out a ground ball last week and Farrell went out of his way to Pablo Sandovalmention it. You can now see Farrell has grown frustrated with the pitching staff he was handed as well. Rick Porcello who continues to trot out to the rubber every fifth day and continues to not get out of the fifth inning almost every start. John Farrell has floated out the idea that Brian Johnson and Henry Owens will get a look in the rotation and soon. Farrell seemed to float out the idea of roster moves coming as well, although that is necessary when your starter only goes two innings.

The main frustration that was picked up from John Farrell’s press conference last night was Pablo Sandoval’s weight problem. Sandoval left the game due to dehydration and Farrell said his weight needs “addressing”. The Red Sox knew what they were getting into Sandoval this off-season, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was a continued critic of Sandoval’s weight during his time in San Francisco. He would continue to show up to spring training over the weight the Giants wanted him at, but he would continue to perform in October so they took the good with the bad.

This year Sandoval has not looked like a $19 million player because he is not a $19 million player. It made sense for the Red Sox to sign Sandoval, but to expect him to be a middle of the order force was wrong, he is simply not that player. His career high in home runs is 25, and has been in the teens in home runs the last three years.

There is no question Sandoval’s weight is a problem but the elephant in the room, no pun intended, has rarely been brought up this season. If you watched the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast former Red Sox pitcher and ESPN commentator Curt Schilling brought up the fact that Sandoval has definitely gained weight this season. Maybe motivation is a problem, with the team losing. He is said to be with his friends Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz, so that should help him no?

The Red Sox need to figure out Sandoval’s weight problem before the end of this season. It will be on the minds of many this off-season. What will Sandoval look like come spring training? Will he be moving to first base? Those questions need to be answered soon and Sandoval needs to react the to comments of John Farrell.

Henry Owens, Brian Johnson Soon to Join Rotation

Prior to a third straight pitching debacle against the Chicago White Sox, manager John Farrell just casually mentioned to the media that both Brian Johnson and Henry Owens should get the call in the next week. These starters are ranked No. 4 and No. 5 respectively overall in the Boston Red Sox farm system

“We’re going to stay on turn through the weekend,” Farrell said according to NESN’s Ricky Brian Johnsondoyle. “Monday being the off-day, we’ve got the ability to adjust going forward. But as we’re taking a look at (recently recalled outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.), our goal and our intent is to see Brian Johnson and probably Henry Owens at some point. So, all that is on the horizon.”

With pitchers Joe Kelly (2-6, 5.94 ERA), Justin Masterson (4-2, 5.62 ERA) and Rick Porcello (5-11, 5.81 ERA) struggling for most of the season and knuckleballer Steve Wright being a 30-year-old journeyman who is more of a spot starter than a long-term option in the rotation, it makes sense to bring up the young pitchers to see if they should be kept or dealt this off season.

Eduardo Rodriguez has proven that he has some work to do, but has pitched admirably while up with the Boston Red Sox this season to the tune of a 4.26 ERA in 11 starts to go along with a 6-3 record and a 52:20 K:BB ratio. The 22-year-old should be in the starting rotation to start the 2016 season

The Red Sox already got a look at Johnson last week as he went 4.1 innings while allowing four earned runs. He may have walked four batters in the outing and thrown more curve balls than fastballs, but the prospect proved he could pitch even with less than stellar stuff on the mound. The fastball topped out at 90 and he can’t blow away anyone, but he showed strong composure for a 24-year-old.

As for Owens, the 23-year-old had a tough go of it to start the 2015 season in Pawtucket, but is 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA over his last 10 starts. Over that span, he has walked just 18 and struck out 54 in 63 innings of work, including a couple nine strikeout contests on July 10th and July 18th in which he allowed three earned runs over 13 innings of work.

The Red Sox need to see which of these lefties will be a mainstay going forward and what better time than now when the team is all but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.

Brian Johnson Named an International League All-Star

While the Pawtucket Red Sox roster continues to get purged while the Red Sox look for answers with their major league club, sending the Route-95 shuttle bus back and forth, PawSox pitcher Brian Johnson received some good news on Thursday as he was named to the International League All-Star team. The AAA All-Star Game is July 15 in Omaha home of the Omaha Storm Chasers of the Pacific Coast League.

Johnson has enjoyed a great season with the PawSox with a record of 8-5 in 15 starts. Brian JohnsonJohnson is tied for the league lead in wins and is 5th in ERA at 2.68. If it wasn’t for Eduardo Rodriguez it is likely Brian Johnson would be up with the big league club right now. Johnson another lefty, who mixes all of his pitches well without overpowering stuff, will likely see a look in the second half of the season.

With Joe Kelly now his PawSox teammate Johnson will likely see a look if Rick Porcello continues to struggle or if Justin Masterson has a repeat of his early season struggles. Johnson, will be 25 in December so he is entering the prime of his career where many players like Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts are already in the big leagues at 22.

Johnson, came out of his most recent start with the PawSox after five pitches issuing a walk. There was cause for concern but it is believed he had an illness that caused him to be taken out of the game. The PawSox list Zeke Spruill as Thursday’s starting pitcher with no pitcher listed for Friday nights game which could be Johnson if he is deemed ready to pitch. An injury would really be unfortunate for Johnson, as this year he has taken control and passed Henry Owens on the depth chart to get a look with the big league club.

John Farrell has taken notice of Johnson but said nothing has changed as of yet with his rotation. Ben Cherington was in town the last time Johnson pitched so take that as you will.

One other notable named to the International League All-Star team is former PawSox pitcher Michael Bowden who is with the Norfolk Tides, (Orioles AAA) who never really got to make a name for himself with the Red Sox a few years back out of their bullpen.