How do you follow up a 14 run outpouring on the first game back from a road trip, be getting shutout up until the ninth inning, of course!
That’s right, folks. The Red Sox did not score their first runs of the game until their last at bats of last night’s contest against the Mariners in a situation where they were already down by seven runs. Let’s get into it.
Making his 15th start of the season on Friday night, Eduardo Rodriguez had his worst performance on the mound in nearly two months. Facing off a team he had just pitched against less than a week ago in Seattle, the Mariners got to the lefty for five runs in just four innings.
If you remember in his last time out, Rodriguez limited the M’s to two runs over six frames in a winning effort this past Sunday evening. The Mariners must have made some sound adjustments to their game plan for last night’s game, because they were all over the lefty in this one.
Before he even had the chance to record the first out of the ballgame, Dee Gordon had already crossed the plate thanks to a leadoff single that was followed by a Mitch Haniger RBI double.
Later on in the third, Ryon Healy plated his teams third run of the night when, after Nelson Cruz lined a one out double, the Mariners first baseman reached first base on a Tzu-Wei Lin fielding error which allowed Cruz to score all the way from second.
An inning later is where things really seemed to escape from Rodriguez. In his final frame of work, the Venezuela native allowed five baserunners to reach on three hits and two walks. Those five baserunners plated three more runs for the Mariners, and that pretty much put this game out of reach for the Red Sox.
Falling to 9-2 on the season now, Rodriguez finished with 86 pitches (52 strikes) on the night. Not too efficient in that department, and the theme of the night for the 25-year-old hurler appeared to be his inability to put away batters with two strikes in the count. Topping out at 96 MPH with his four-seamer, ERod will look to rebound from this shaky start in his next time out against the Yankees in New York next weekend.
In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was tasked with getting through five innings while keeping Seattle within striking distance.
Hector Velazquez got the first call and for the second time in three days allowed two runs to score off of him. He gave up two garbage time runs in Minnesota on Thursday and in a more important situation last night, surrendered another two in three innings of work to make it a 7-0 game by the time he departed in the middle of the seventh.
From that point on, Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree combined for two scoreless frames of work in the eighth and ninth to lower their ERA’s on the season to 1.13 and 3.86 respectively.
On the other side of things, Mariners starter Mike Leake could do no wrong against a Red Sox lineup fresh off one of their better performances of the year. Last time Leake saw them, in that same game Rodriguez pitched in last Sunday, the Red Sox knocked the 30-year old hurler around a bit for five runs in the six innings he pitched. This time though, we saw a much different story.
In eight full innings, Leake limited the Red Sox to a whopping five baserunners. Three hits, two walks, and five strikeouts, this was for sure his best start of the season. With both Mookie Betts (illness) and Xander Bogaerts (finger) out of the lineup, it’s understandable why the lineup struggled, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow to say the least.
In fact, it wasn’t until the ninth when the Red Sox finally got on the board. With closer Edwin Diaz making his first appearance in a week, Mitch Moreland and Eduardo Nunez were able to collect RBI hits off of the Mariners flamethrower to cut the deficit to five runs. That’s all they were able to do though, as this thing finished with a final score of 7-2. For the Mariners, a five-game losing streak came to an end. For the Red Sox, a two game-winning streak also came to an end.
Some other notes from this loss:
Prior to last night’s contest, the Red Sox recalled IF Tzu-Wei Lin from Triple A Pawtucket while also optioning RP Robby Scott down to Pawtucket.
In gamed Eduardo Rodriguez starts this season, the Red Sox are now 13-2.
Mitch Moreland extended his hitting streak to six games last night. Over that stretch, he’s 11-for-23 (.478 AVG) with five RBI, eight runs scored, and two triples.
Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are expected to be back in the lineup today.
With both sided looking for the series win this afternoon, it will be a pitching matchup featuring a pair of lefty’s. For Seattle, Marco Gonzales will be making his first career start against the Red Sox. And for Boston, it will be Chris Sale making the start. Sale, who missed pitching in the four-game series in Seattle, is coming off a start in which he took a perfect game into the fifth inning against the Twins, yet the Red Sox came away with the loss. First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM ET.
Also, here’s a video of Triston Casas (1st round draft pick) taking BP at Fenway prior to yesterday’s game.