The Red Sox came into Thursday one loss away from falling to .500 on the season. Luckily for them, there were a few guys who didn’t want that to happen. Let’s start with Eduardo Rodriguez. This guy has really grown on me since the beginning of the season. For a 24-year-old already in the bigs, I think he gets a lot of criticism, guess that’s just what happens here, though. Anyway, ERod had himself a solid outing against a Milwaukee team that can score runs in bunches. Only giving up one run on three hits in six innings is nice to see, especially with the way Pomeranz and Kendrick pitched the past two games. He would have gone out for the seventh, but with a runner on base in the top of the seventh, John Farrell made the decision to pinch hit ERod for Chris Young, which I was fine with. 87 pitches total, and the only real mistake came in the sixth when he gave up a double to Jonathan Villar that allowed Manny Pina to score from second. From the seventh inning on, the bullpen did what they had to do to shut down the Brewers. There was cause for concern in the bottom of the eighth, when there was a man on first with one out. Craig Kimbrel would be inserted into the game earlier than usual, and after giving up an infield single and throwing a wild pitch, Kimbrel struck out Keon Broxton to end the inning. In the ninth, Kimbrel would do something that is rarely done in the game of baseball, toss an immaculate inning. 9 pitches, 9 strikes, 3 K’s. I know we’re only five and a half weeks into the season, but, as of today, Kimbrel’s K/9 of 17.81 is the best it has been throughout his career, based on end of the year stats from 2010-2016. If the Red Sox get elite Kimbrel and he pitches longer outings, then that would be great for this bullpen which can be characterised as unreliable.
After Mookie Betts scored in the first because of a fielding error, the Red Sox bats went relatively dormant. They had plenty of chances, like in the eighth, when they loaded the bases with only one out. Jackie Bradley and Josh Rutledge both got their chance to drive in some runs, but they both struck out. It wasn’t until the ninth when the Red Sox took advantage of what was given to them. After Christian Vazquez walked and Deven Marrero reached on a fielder’s choice, Mookie Betts came to the plate looking to take the lead, and that’s exactly what he did. Betts took Neftali Feliz deep to left field, mashing his fifth home run of the season, while also plating three runs, making it a 4-1 game. And that blast would do it.
Mother’s Day Weekend series against the Rays next, Porcello and Sale will be pitching. David Price is rehabbing in Pawtucket on Sunday, Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg are getting healthier, things aren’t looking awful. Just wait until this team has a good few weeks, just you wait.
18 down, 76 to go.