Eduardo Rodriguez makes his case for a Red Sox playoff start

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18: Eduardo Rodriguez
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18: Eduardo Rodriguez /

Eduardo Rodriguez led the Boston Red Sox to a 5-0 victory last night, throwing 7.2 scoreless innings and striking out 6 while allowing only 3 hits.

For the entire season, Boston Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez’ biggest problem has been efficiency. His outings have been littered with full counts, long at bats, and an inability to put hitters away in advantage counts.

These factors have led to a paltry 5.2 innings per start for Rodriguez, who, entering last night’s game, had had only two scoreless outings in 19 starts since April 23. He’s 5-6 on the season with a 4.15 ERA and a 1.273 WHIP.

Last night’s outing, however, was different. Rodriguez entered the 3rd inning with fewer than 40 pitches, which is very unusual for him. He finished the 7th inning with just over 100 pitches, leaving him enough energy to go out for the 8th. He retired two batters before being replaced by Carson Smith.

This outing was very encouraging for Rodriguez and the Red Sox. Rodriguez was effective with his fastball, forcing many swings and misses. He was also painting with his slider, using the backdoor vs. righties to get ahead. He was forcing the ball in play and not allowing batters into deep counts.

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This Eduardo Rodriguez deserves a playoff start over the likes of Doug Fister, or worse, human batting practice Rick Porcello. Were this to happen, the Red Sox would be in line to start three lefties in a three game series. Unusual, yes, but Rodriguez could make a great complement to Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz.

It looks like the Red Sox are tying everything together at the right time. With the Yankees three games back in the AL East, the Sox have to continue to play their best baseball. Do not let the Yankees hang around.

A three game series with the Houston Astros looms at the end of the regular season, so it is of the utmost importance that the Red Sox have clinched the AL East by then.

Next: Boston Red Sox: Ten Greatest Starting Pitchers of All-Time

Keep the number 5 in your minds. In the words of the fake Ned Schneebly in School of Rock, “that’s a magic number”.