RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez Dominates with 12 Strikeouts in First Start Back from DL as #RedSox Cruise to 6-1 Win over White Sox.

On a day where rosters expand all across Major League Baseball, the Red Sox welcomed a total of eight players from both Triple A Pawtucket and the 10-day disabled list to increase their roster size up to 33.

Yes, Eduardo Rodriguez, Steven Wright, and Christian Vazquez were all activated from the disabled list on Saturday, while Sam Travis, Tzu-Wei Lin, Robby Scott, Bobby Poyner, and William Cuevas were all recalled from the PawSox.

Getting the starting nod in last night’s contest was none other than Rodriguez himself, and his battery mate for his first big league in-game action in exactly seven weeks was none other than Christian Vazquez, who caught E-Rod in one of his rehab starts in Portland.

In what was his 20th start of the season, the left-hander looked as though he had not missed a beat on Saturday, as he tossed nearly six innings of one run ball while scattering three hits and one walk to go along with a season-high 12 strikeouts.

For never pitching against the White Sox on the road before, Rodriguez began his night by fanning 11 of the first 12 hitters he faced while taking a perfect game into the fifth inning.

After giving up a leadoff single to Matt Davidson and a seven pitch walk to Ryan LaMarre in an otherwise clean fifth, the 25-year old’s evening would come to an end an inning later when Nicky Delmonico ripped a two out RBI double to score Adam Engel from first for Chicago’s lone run.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (60 strikes), Rodriguez would depart from this one with two outs and a runner on second.

Out of those 90 pitches, the Venezuela native turned to his four-seam fastball 44% of the time he was on the mound on Saturday. He topped out at 96.1 MPH with that same pitch in the second inning.

Improving to 12-3 and lowering his ERA on the season down to 3.34, Rodriguez’s scoreless innings streak did ultimately come to an end at 24.2, but regardless of that, Alex Cora and the Red Sox have to be encouraged with what they saw from their young lefty in his first meaningful start in over a month.

He’ll look to build on this dominant performance in his next time out, which should come against the Houston Astros next weekend.

In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final 10 outs last night, and Ryan Brasier, Matt Barnes, and Joe Kelly dealt with the White Sox bats in decently short order to secure their team’s 94th win of the year.

For Barnes, a nice bounce back after surrendering seven earned runs in his previous four appearances.

And for the Red Sox pitching staff as a whole, well, they faced 32 total batters on Saturday and struck out 18 of them. Not bad.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against arguably the best starting pitcher the White Sox have to offer in Carlos Rodon.

A left-hander like Rodriguez, Rodon made his 2018 debut against Boston on June 9th, where he surrendered four runs (two earned) over six innings in a losing effort.

Unlike Friday night, when they were held to one run, the Red Sox were able to score multiple runs last night, and it started with a solo home run off the bat of Eduardo Nunez in the fifth.

An absolute line drive of a long ball, Nunez’s 10th of the season had a launch angle of 19 degrees.

Three batters later, Jackie Bradley Jr. took the first pitch he saw from Rodon, a 84 MPH, slider, and sent it 402 feet to right field to make it a 2-0 game.

Fast forward to the seventh, an inning that has treated the Red Sox quite nicely these past few days, and Christian Vazquez led things off by drawing an eight pitch walk.

After a Jackie Bradley Jr. fly out, Mookie Betts was able to advance Vazquez all the way to third on his 39th double of the year.

With runners in scoring position, Andrew Benintendi appeared to ground into a 1-3 put out for the second out of the frame, but an ugly throw from Carlos Rodon that got over the first baseman’s head allowed Vazquez to easily score from third to make it a 3-1 game.

Just a few moments after that all went down, Steve Pearce put an end to Rodon’s night by ripping a one out single to left field to plate Mookie Betts and advance Benintendi to third.

Following a pitching change that saw rookie Ryan Burr take over for Rodon, JD Martinez tacked on another insurance run and added on to his league-leading RBI count by singling to center and scoring Benintendi from third. Martinez now has 115 RBI on the season.

Finally, in the eighth, just for fun, Ian Kinsler went ahead and launched his first home run in a Red Sox uniform on a rocket sent to the White Sox bullpen. 6-1.

Some notes from this 6-1 win: 

The Red Sox won their 94th game of the 2018 season on Saturday night. That is more than they had in both 2016 and 2017 and there are still 25 games left.

Over his last 10 appearances, Joe Kelly has posted a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings of work.

In his last five games, Ian Kinsler is batting .474 with one home run and three RBI.

With hits in eight of his last 10 games, Mookie Betts owns a 1.061 OPS with two homers and six runs driven in since August 22nd.

JD Martinez has 9 RBI in his last 10 games. Like I mentioned above, his 115 RBI on the year is the most in all of baseball.

Going for the series win later this afternoon, it will be Brian Johnson getting the start for the Red Sox in the Windy City finale.

Now, Johnson has neither pitched at Gauranteed Rate Field nor against the White Sox in his three-year career, but he did post a 5.27 ERA in six appearances (five starts) over 27.1 innings pitched in August.

Opposite Johnson will be veteran right-hander James Shields for Chicago, who owns a 4.54 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in 29 games, 28 of which are starts, in what is his 13th year in the big leagues.

Known mostly for his time with the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals, “Big Game James” has faced off against the Red Sox 28 times in his career, and is 9-14 with a 4.40 ERA and 1.30 WHIP in those starts.

First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET.

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Eduardo Rodriguez Officially Set to Rejoin #RedSox Rotation in Chicago This Weekend.

Earlier today, I wrote about how Eduardo Rodriguez looked great in his second rehab start in Portland and how his return to the Red Sox rotation in the coming days was imminent.

Well, now we have confirmation from Red Sox manager Alex Cora himself that Rodriguez will be starting against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field this Saturday.

So, there you have it. After spraining his right ankle on July 14th, it will have taken the left-hander exactly seven weeks to return to a big league mound once we reach Saturday.

In his career against the White Sox, both of which have come at Fenway Park, Rodriguez owns a 3.75 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in a total of 12 innings pitched.

Opposite of the Venezuela native on Saturday will be another left-hander in Chicago’s Carlos Rodon, who has surrendered two runs or fewer in 11 of his 14 starts this season.

Some other Red Sox injury-related news:

RECAP: JD Martinez’s Two-Run Home Run Powers #RedSox to 4-2 Win over White Sox.

Less than 24 hours after dropping the opening game of this three game series against the lowly Chicago White Sox, the Red Sox were right back out there this afternoon, with JD Martinez in the lineup, which unlike Friday night, proved to be the difference maker.

Before that though, David Price toed the rubber for his 13th start of the season. Coming in on a bit of a roll as of late, Price did not have the best of first innings. In fact, the first three batters he faced all reached base, which led to the first run of the game coming on a Jose Abreu RBI double. Two batters later, the second White Sox run crossed the plate on an RBI groundout off the bat of catcher Kevan Smith. And just like that, the Red Sox found themselves in a hole before even taking their first at bats.

Thankfully, Price settled in once he retired the side in the first by punching out old friend Yoan Moncada on four pitches.

From the start of the second inning to the conclusion of the top half of the sixth, the lefty held the White Sox scoreless while scattering three hits and two walks in five frames of work. In total, the Tennessee native recorded six strikeouts on only 86 pitches (56 strikes) en route to his seventh winning decision of the season.

In relief of Price, three Red Sox relievers tossed a scoreless inning each. Joe Kelly retired the side in order in the seventh, Matt Barnes extended his scoreless appearance streak to 12 in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel, who had not pitched since June 2nd, picked up his 20th save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth with some help from Andrew Benintendi.

 

On the other side of things, the Red Sox actually scored some runs against the White Sox today. Shocking I know.

Facing off against lefty Carlos Rodon, Andrew Benintendi got things started by drawing a six pitch walk. Two batters later, after Xander Bogaerts reached base on a fielding error, JD Martinez made his return to the Red Sox lineup after a one game absence by grounding into what should have been a double play. Instead a bad throw from White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada got away from Jose Abreu and allowed Martinez to reach safely while also scoring Benintendi from second. No RBI for Martinez, but still an impactful at bat to cut the deficit in half early.

An inning later, Jackie Bradley Jr., batting out of the nine-hole, mashed his first home run in nearly two months to knot this thing up at two. 414 feet, 105.7 MPH off the bat.

Fast forward to the fifth, and after Xander Bogaerts led the inning off by reaching first on a fielding error, JD Martinez pretty much put this game away with a go-ahead, two-run shot for his league leading 21st big fly of the season.

Another vintage opposite field blast for Martinez, he sent that 85 MPH changeup from Rodon 391 feet into the Red Sox bullpen to make it a 4-2 game. The Red Sox would not have to look back.

Some notes from this win:

On that home run from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second inning, it was the outfielders’s first extra-base hit against a left-handed pitcher this season. (@SmittyOnMLB)

Since the start of May, JD Martinez has hit 16 home runs in 35 games. Over that span, he is averaging just over eight at bats per home run.

The Red Sox are undefeated in David Price’s last six starts. In those six outings, Price owns a 2.91 ERA in 37.1 innings pitched.

With the series coming to an end tomorrow afternoon, the White Sox will send young righty Reynaldo Lopez to the hill. He will be matched up against another righty in Rick Porcello for the Red Sox. First pitch of the finale is scheduled for 1:05 PM and both teams will be looking to pick up the series win.