A collective gasp shot through Red Sox Nation last week when it was announced that Eduardo Rodriguez would be starting the 2016 season on the disabled list. Eduardo Rodriguez adds a strong balance to a pitching rotation that has the potential to bring another championship to Boston this year. His latest injury, however, worries many. Rodriguez dislocated his right knee cap on February 27th, leading many to wonder if the southpaw would be ready to pitch at all for Boston in 2016. While Rodriguez said he felt fine after some practice throws last Wednesday, Red Sox manager John Farrell wants to make sure he’s healthy before taking the mound again. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
I’m thankful that Rodriguez’s injury isn’t too bad because he’s going to be a key player in the Red Sox rotation this season. After going 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA in 2015, Rodriguez became the first Red Sox rookie southpaw to win at least 10 games; John Curtis won 11 games in 1972. What I’m particularly excited about is that Rodriguez is young and will have plenty of time to develop for the Red Sox. I’m excited about Rodriguez’s potential after posting strong numbers during his rookie year.
On a larger level, the Red Sox are already in a strong position pitching-wise this upcoming season. They’ll have four left-handed pitchers on their rotation this season. With David Price as the Red Sox ace, followed by Henry Owens and Wade Miley, Eduardo Rodriguez adds extra defense for the team. The southpaws will be needed to keep opposing batters in check while David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Travis Shaw add their offensive power. This number of southpaws will also be important because it’ll make it harder for the teams that repeatedly beat the Red Sox last season to do the same this season. Although the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays beat the Red Sox 11 and 10 times last season, respectively, their hitters struggled more against left-handed pitchers than right-handed ones. While those teams were not playoff contenders, beating them this season with our southpaw-dominant pitching rotation will give the Red Sox more wins, making them a stronger threat in the American League.
I’m lucky that my season tickets are on the first base line. It’ll give me a better view of Rodriguez when he takes the mound for Boston this season.