By: Jake Perda
On Thursday night in Baltimore, the Orioles taught Eduardo Rodriguez an important lesson about locating pitches. If you don’t do it, you’re not going to have very much success at the Major League level. The Orioles, who are notorious for the longball, were able to capitalize on 4 major mistakes in location from Rodriguez, resulting in 4 home runs, and 7 runs on the board for Baltimore. Despite the best efforts of the Sox offense, who managed to muster up 5 runs when all was said and done, the big bats of the Orioles were simply too much for E-Rod to handle. This resulted in a 7-5 loss, and the Sox have now fallen to 3 games behind the Yankees in the division.
Considering the season that he’s had, it’s hard to criticize Rodriguez too harshly. Every pitcher has off nights, and this was one of his. On the bright side, he was still able to make it through 5 ⅔ innings despite allowing 7 runs. Although this will go unnoticed, it’s nice that he was able to eat some innings and not force the Red Sox to burn through their bullpen in a game that they had pretty much no chance of winning. There’s not much that you can say about him after giving up 7 runs on 4 homers aside from that he needs to move on and be better his next time out. Based on what we’ve seen from E-Rod so far this season, I’m confident that he will be able to do just that.
Another day, another multi-hit game for Christian Vazquez. Vazquez went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI’s, raising his batting average to .348 on the season. On a night in which we saw the Red Sox offense as a whole fail to get much going, Vazquez was able to step up. Prior to Jackie Bradley Jr.’s 3-run bomb in the 9th inning, Vazquez had driven in the Red Sox only 2 runs via 2 RBI singles. That’s pretty good for a catcher who people are still convinced can’t hit. It’s no longer worth questioning his ability to have success at the plate. Now it’s matter of seeing how long Vazquez can ride this hot streak.
Andrew Benintendi was out of the lineup yet again with a left handed starter on the mound. Although he was used late in the game to pinch hit for Chris Young, it’s discouraging to see Farrell using Benny in a platoon role. Instead of not putting him in the lineup, Farrell should simply drop Benintendi down in the order to allow him to bust out of his slump. He’ll never admit to it, but the pressure of hitting clean up as a rookie seems to be getting to Benny. Taking that pressure off of him in addition to letting him play every day seems like a far more logical option than letting him ride the pine and collect dust.
The Orioles may have taken Game 1, but this series surely isn’t over. The Sox have Rick Porcello taking the ball on Friday night, and he’ll be looking to make amends for his slow start to the season. If he can come up with a big performance, the fans will be more than happy to put his struggles in the past. If not, we may be looking at an alarming trend that will continue to be discussed as we move further into the season.