BOSTON -- As Eduardo Rodriguez walked off the mound after the second inning Saturday against the Orioles having already allowed five runs on 51 pitches, it looked like a call to the Red Sox's bullpen was soon to follow.The left-hander had other ideas. While it was in no way his
BOSTON -- As Eduardo Rodriguez walked off the mound after the second inning Saturday against the Orioles having already allowed five runs on 51 pitches, it looked like a call to the Red Sox's bullpen was soon to follow.
The left-hander had other ideas. While it was in no way his best start of the season, as he allowed five runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings for the loss, Rodriguez (aka "El Gualo" for Players Weekend) was able to save an overworked bullpen in a 7-0 loss. It had tossed 9 1/3 innings over the previous two games.
"It was vital. You are looking at 40 pitches thrown in the second inning, and all of a sudden you are starting to look at how you are going to piece this game together," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "The fact that he could go that deep was critical, especially because of these last two nights. Thankfully he did settle in and demonstrate the kind of pitcher that he is."
All the trouble for Rodriguez came in the second. After allowing RBI singles to Mark Trumbo and Craig Gentry, Timothy Beckham (aka "Swaggy T") unleashed a three-run home run off a sign above the Green Monster. All nine pitches Beckham saw in the at-bat were fastballs.
Of the 51 pitches Rodriguez threw in the first two innings, 43 were fastballs. The lefty admitted after the game that he should have used more of his secondary pitches in the first two frames.
"I got too comfortable after throwing all fastballs in the first inning," Rodriguez said. "I need to start using all of my pitches out of the gate the next time."
After the second inning, El Gualo allowed just three hits and retired 10 of the last 11 batters faced.
"He has one of the best changeups in baseball -- definitely the American League -- and he has to use that," Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis said. "Once he did start to use it in the third inning, all of a sudden he's out pitching in the seventh inning. With Eddie, that changeup is a super weapon, and he has to know when to use it. He has to go to it at the beginning of the game to confuse hitters."
In eight games since coming off the disabled list, Rodriguez is still looking for his first win.
"He's still in the process of figuring out when he is at his best. That's where the learning curve comes in," Farrell said. "He has to continue to mix, and that was on display the final four innings."
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.