Rookie lefty rebounds well from last outing with five strikeouts, no walks
By Alec Shirkey
BOSTON -- In a rookie season littered with Jekyll-and-Hyde performances, perhaps it was fitting that Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez pitched one of his most dominant games on the heels of an equally rough one.
Handed a large lead, Rodriguez cruised his way through eight strong innings on Tuesday night, allowing one run, six hits and no walks while guiding Boston to a painless 9-1 victory over the Indians at Fenway Park. Coming after the Marlins tagged him for eight runs and nine hits last Wednesday, the 22-year-old's latest outing served as another reminder for his propensity to learn from mistakes.
"It was [throwing] my fastball where I want," Rodriguez said. "Outside corner, inside corner. And working it with the slider and changeup, too."
Rodriguez began by retiring 10 straight Tribe batters, half of which came via strikeout, and worked around two eighth-inning singles to cap his night with a scoreless frame. His lone misstep -- Michael Brantley's solo shot to lead off the seventh inning -- fazed neither him nor his manager, who had no qualms about sending the rookie out for one final frame.
"His worst inning he threw 19 pitches, prior to the eighth inning," Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo said. "We wanted to send him back out there and get the last inning he really deserved. A great effort by him tonight."
Pinpoint location with his electric fastball aided Rodriguez's cause. He threw nearly 70 percent of his pitches for strikes (79 of 114) and threaded in first-pitch strikes against 21 of 29 batters faced.
Ultimately, Tuesday night turned out to be another fine example of what the Red Sox hope to see out of the young pitcher. And with an uncertain future looming for several players on the roster now that the Red Sox have hired Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, Rodriguez will stake his claim to remain part of it moving forward.
"I think he was pounding the strike zone with an aggressive fastball, getting ahead of hitters," Lovullo said. "There's no secret to having success on a given night from a pitching standpoint. It's getting ahead of the batter and staying in the strike zone. He got in a great run for several innings. He was comfortable, free and easy."
Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.