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 Rangers 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.