Who was that masked man? That’s what the Texas Rangers must have wondered after being baffled by Eduardo Rodriguez on Thursday night.
The Sox came into Arlington for a four game series having just been swept by the Minnesota Twins in a three game series in which their hitting woes continued and their pitching was less than good, with the exception of Game 2 where Clay Buchholz, after giving up two runs in the first inning, turned in a quality start but got beaten 2-1. The Sox scored just 7 runs in the three games while giving up 15.
The Sox announced they were bringing up Eddie Rodriguez from Pawtucket, where he had compiled a 4-3 record and a 2.98 ERA in eight starts. He had averaged almost exactly six innings per start with the Triple A level team.
What did he do in his first Major League appearance less than two months after his twenty-second birthday? He shut down the Rangers. He pitched shutout ball for 7 2/3 innings, striking out seven and gave up his third hit in the eighth before being removed. This against a lineup that, although it has struggled as a team, features the American League leading hitter Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton and Mitch Moreland in the three to six spots.
While Rodriguez was performing his magic, the Sox actually scored five runs to win 5-1, pounding out 13 hits, including three each by Pedroia and Betts and Hanley Ramirez and Blake Swihart got two apiece. For the first time in many games, Designated Hitter David Ortiz did not leave any runners in scoring position, only because he didn’t play.
Eddie Rodriguez was born in Valencia, Venezuela on April 7, 1993 and signed with the Orioles as an Amateur Free Agent in January of 2010. He started his career in the Rookie Dominican Summer League and began to work his way up through the Orioles system with stops at Aberdeen in Low A, Delmarva in the A South Atlantic League, Frederick Keys in the High A Carolina League and, in 2013, with the Bowie Bay Sox in the AA Eastern League.
In 2014, he started the season with Bowie and was traded from Baltimore to the Red Sox on July 31, 2014, for Andrew Miller, during the Red Sox purge of pitching at the trade deadline. He finished the year at the Sox AA affiliate Portland ending the season with a 6-8 record and an ERA of 3.60 and had 108 strikeouts in 120 innings.
No one, even the most optimistic Red Sox fans and certainly the shell shocked Rangers fans, could have predicted what he would do in his first start in the Big Leagues. There’s a lot of season left but no one should
expect him to be the answer to all the Red Sox problems. He may have shown them that there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Meantime, there is a guy named Allen Craig in Pawtucket who is hitting .315 and who hit .315, .307 and.315 for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2011-2013. Maybe the Sox could give him another shot and solve some of their hitting problems.