Entering Friday with sole possession of first place in the American League East, the Red Sox had a big task at hand in the form of a three game weekend series against the New York Yankees. While splitting the season series thus far at 3-3, this particular series, although relatively early in the year, could prove to be quite meaningful for the division race later in September.
Making his 16th start of the season on Friday night, Eduardo Rodriguez was not as effective as he was in his only other appearance against the Yankees this season. In that start, back on May 10th, New York was held scoreless in the five innings the lefty pitched in.
Last night though, although he did pitch deeper into the game, Rodriguez got rocked for five runs on seven hits and two walks while only recording two strikeouts.
Things began to go awry for the Venezuela native starting in the bottom half of the second inning, when Yankees rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres ripped a hard-hit triple to lead off the frame.
That was followed by an RBI single off the bat of another Yankees rookie in Miguel Andujar, and just like that, the Yankees had a one run lead which they would not have to look back from.
After tossing a scoreless third, the fourth inning is where Rodriguez struggled the most. In fact, the southpaw needed 30 pitches to get through the frame in which he surrendered four runs, highlighted by back-to-back homers from Andujar and then Greg Bird.
From that point on, Rodriguez did hold the Yankees scoreless while retiring six of the seven batters he faced to end an otherwise disappointing night.
Over his last two outings, the 25-year-old hurler’s ERA has inflated from 3.59 after his start in Seattle, all the way up to 4.11 after his performance on Friday. He’ll look to get back on the winning side in his next time out, which is more than likely to come against the Washington Nationals on Independence Day.
In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox only turned to one relief pitcher in this one, and that was Justin Haley. Given the fact they were already trailing by four runs by the time Haley entered in the seventh inning, it makes sense that Alex Cora would want to save the rest of his bullpen for the remaining two games of this series.
In the two innings he pitched in, Haley got hit decently hard. First, Aaron Judge, a college teammate of Haley’s, blasted a two-run home run for his 21st of the season in the seventh. And in the eighth, Greg Bird struck once again for his second homer of the night to essentially put this game out of reach if it was not already at 8-1.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was limited to just one run thanks to Yankees starter CC Sabathia.
In his only other start against Boston this season on May 10th, Sabathia surrendered four runs on nine hits in a rain-shortened four innings of work. That was not the case last night.
Nope, the 18 year veteran lefty gave up one run in the fifth inning, which is all the damage the Red Sox could do in this one.
That run came on an Andrew Benintendi RBI double to score Mookie Betts from second, in case you were interested. Other than that, guys like JD Martinez, Xander Bogaerts, and Rafael Devers were all held without a single hit.
On the bright side things, newly acquired Steve Pearce made his Red Sox debut at first base last night, and in his very first at bat with his new team, ripped a leadoff double on the first pitch he saw from Sabathia in the second inning.
The former Blue Jay also collected his second hit of the night later on in the fourth, so recording a multi-hit game in your first game with a new team is not too shabby, I guess.
Heading into tonight’s contest now in a deadlock atop the AL East, Chris Sale will be given the responsibility of trying to lead the Red Sox to just their second win at Yankee Stadium this year. He’ll be matched up against Yankees righty Sonny Gray, who in his only other start against the Red Sox this season, gave up six earned runs in just three innings pitched back on April 12th.
First pitch of the middle game is scheduled for 7:15 PM ET on FOX. Time to even this series up.