The Boston Red Sox starting rotation has struggled to begin the season, and that continued on Saturday night. In his season debut, Eduardo Rodriguez lasted just 4 1/3 innings while giving up five earned runs (six total). He also threw 105 pitches despite the relatively short outing.
After the game, the Red Sox coaching staff was frustrated with the performance and pitching coach Dana LeVangie seemed to think that Rodriguez and Blake Swihart didn’t follow the game plan they had set up, per WEEI’s Rob Bradford.
We sort of got away from our plan a little bit. I thought our cutters were going to play a big part of this pitch mix tonight. He used the cutter a lot but he didn’t keep the righthanded hitters uncomfortable in with it. We made a few mistakes to the lefties that we can’t do. We didn’t use his changeup against the lefties, which was really surprising against his best pitch versus lefties. It’s a wipeout changeup. It’s a really good pitch against those two guys. We didn’t get to it.
Rodriguez had issues against lefties in the game and allowed Mariners outfielder Jay Bruce to club a three-run home run that ultimately ended up deciding the game. During his career, Bruce has hit just .226 off lefthanded pitchers.
As for why the Red Sox didn’t stick to the game plan, LeVangie said that he didn’t know.
Perhaps Rodriguez wasn’t used to playing with Blake Swihart behind the plate. Rodriguez mostly worked with Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez during the 2018 campaign, as Swihart only appeared at catcher in 28 games (16 starts) and appeared just once in a game Rodriguez pitched. The duo may still be building chemistry. Still, that doesn’t completely explain the decision to deviate from the game plan.
Rodriguez’s outing marked the third consecutive game in which a Red Sox pitcher had allowed at least five earned runs in less than five innings of work. The Red Sox as a team had only 12 such outings in 162 regular season games last year.
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