RECAP: Eduardo Nunez and Eduardo Rodriguez Lift #RedSox to 7-3 Win over the Orioles.

Welcoming the Baltimore Orioles into town for the first time this season, the Red Sox got things going quickly on Friday night with the help of a couple of guys named Eduardo.

Looking to rebound from his disappointing season debut last Sunday against the Rays, Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one, and rebound he did. In six innings pitched, the lefty allowed just one run, scattered five hits, walked two, and fanned eight. The Orioles got to ERod early for a run in the first, but he settled down after that. Some highlights from Rodriguez’s start include striking out the side in the second inning and getting some assistance from Mookie Betts on an Adam Jones leadoff single that turned into the first out in the top of the fourth.

Rodriguez ended his night by dramatically striking out Chris Davis on a full count with runners on first and second in the sixth. Regardless of Davis getting on base or not in that situation, that would have been the last batter Rodriguez faced, so that was an important moment for him to strike him out and end the inning on his own. The 25-year-old out of Venezuela finished with 104 pitches, 64 of which went for strikes. He’ll make his next start Wednesday in Anaheim.

In relief of Rodriguez, Heath Hembree got the call for the seventh, and he was far from great. The righty surrendered two runs on three hits before ending the inning, allowing the Orioles to kind of creep back into things and stay within striking distance.

After that though, the bullpen was fine. Joe Kelly made his first appearance since the Tyler Austin fight on Wednesday, and he got a warm welcome from the fans for what he did that night. He pitched a clean eighth, and Matt Barnes gave up one hit while tossing  a scoreless ninth to wrap up his team’s eleventh win of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox lineup tacked on six of their seven runs over the first three innings Friday night. A four run first began with a Mookie Betts leadoff walk, and he scored from third two batters later thanks to a JD Martinez sacrifice fly. One batter later, with runners on second and third, Eduardo Nunez took a 1-1 fastball from Chris Tillman and ripped it over the Green Monster for his second home run of the season. 4-1.

Later in the second inning, Tzu-Wei Lin hit his first career double and Mookie Betts collected his tenth RBI of the season by driving in Lin from second on a double of his own. 5-1.

In the third, the Red Sox scored their seventh run on a passed ball that scored Rafael Devers from third. They loaded the bases twice in the inning, but could only manage one run.

Fast forward to the sixth, and the Red Sox scored their seventh and final run of the game on a wild pitch with Eduardo Nunez at the plate that scored Mitch Moreland from third.

Since dropping that middle game the Yankees, the Red Sox have responded by winning their last two games and outscoring opponents 13-6 over that span. Hector Velazquez will look to continue that trend later this afternoon as he faces off against familiar face Alex Cobb. First pitch is at 1:05 PM.

#RedSox Officially Bring Back Eduardo Nunez on a One-Year Deal.

 

There it is, he is back. After it was reported on Thursday that the Red Sox had a deal in place with Eduardo Nunez, the team did not make it official until Sunday morning. It appears that Nunez arrived at Fort Myers on Friday to take a physical. That was followed by a workout, one that was pretty grueling, according to Nunez, “They almost killed me. They gave me a lot of stealing bases, running, hitting, ground balls, diving, everything, and I passed it.” A day later, team officials made sure there was no swelling in Nunez’s right knee, and they were satisfied with the results. With Nunez back in a Red Sox uniform, Dustin Pedroia will more than likely be out for an extended period of time to start the season. At 34 years old, there is no reason to rush Pedroia back, especially since that has had negative effects on both the team and Pedroia in the past. Nunez can provide stability at second while Pedroia is absent and provide a spark at other positions in the infield as well. Last season, after he was traded from the San Francisco Giants on July 26, Nunez played 2B, 3B, and SS, and posted the best OPS+ of his career (129) in 38 games with the Red Sox.

As far as the contract details, Nunez will make approximately $4 million dollars this upcoming season to go along with a player option worth up to another $4 million in 2019. I don’t know a ton about the financials of baseball yet, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is a great deal for the Red Sox. Bringing in a super utility guy like Nunez on that inexpensive of a contract is a bargain. He’s familiar with the team and he has already thrived here. Bringing him back also helps Devers, as Nunez seemed to have taken the young third baseman under his wing last summer. As long as Nunez can stay healthy, this is a positive move all around, and it leaves the Red Sox with money to spend and still stay under the luxury tax threshold, looking at you J.D. Let’s make it happen.

Where in The World is Eduardo Nunez?

MLB Free Agency started more than two months ago. The Red Sox entered this period with 12 free agents total. So far, only one has been retained, Mitch Moreland, while two have left for other clubs, Doug Fister and Addison Reed. Out of the nine free agents left, I would say Eduardo Nunez is the best player available. With that in mind, there have been zero rumors about a return. In fact, there have been no concrete rumors at all, just speculation about what team could use Nunez the most. When he was acquired from the San Francisco Giants back in July, it looked like there was interest in a reunion in the winter. But with the acquisition of Evan Longoria, the Giants are no longer in need of a third baseman, or any starting infielder for that matter, considering their infield now consists of Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Evan Longoria. I don’t want to rule out Nunez resigning with the Giants, but I find it highly unlikely given the fact the left side of their infield is borderline great.

Back to the Red Sox perspective on all this, I would be interested in finding out how much Dave Dombrowski has engaged in talks with Nunez’s agent. Nothing has been leaked, which is a surprise considering how good Nunez was with the Red Sox. Health may be a concern, but he’s still a quality infielder to have on your 25-man roster, especially if Dustin Pedroia is going to miss time in April/May. I also have faith in Marco Hernandez and Tzu-Wei Lin if their services are required, but a veteran presence like Nunez is not a bad option either.