The 23 Year Old Venezuelan pitcher was one of the only bright spots of last years Red Sox last place finish. He came on the scene looking like the real deal especially at such a young age. A big imposing left hander with a hard 95-96 MPH fastball as well as plus secondary pitches.
In fact, over his last four starts, Rodriguez has pitched 24 innings, has had 21 strikeouts to 8 walks, and has posted a very good 2.63 ERA over that time. If the Red Sox keep getting this kind of production from Rodriguez as their number 5 pitcher, they will be in great shape this year and may finally have the young arm in their system that many have wanted.
Well, it didn’t take long for them to follow that up. Heading into the 8th Inning, the Red Sox lineup trailed 1-0 and Seattle Mariners starting pitcher James Paxton looked to be on his way to a complete game shutout after baffling the Red Sox hitters through the first 7 innings with his 100 MPH fastball and sharp curveball. Aaron Hill picked a good time to officially introduce himself to the Red Sox faithful shooting a 1-0 pitch just over the LF wall tying the game at 1 apiece. Hill’s first home run as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
The following inning, Markus “Mookie” Betts hit a 1-0 pitch to the same spot as Hill to lead off the ninth and give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Kimbrel shut the door in the ninth and the Red Sox secured their second late inning come from behind win in a row. These are the kind of wins that make playoff teams, and it's exciting to finally see this great Red Sox offense have clutch hitting as well.
On Monday night, John Farrell went to Robbie Ross Jr. in the seventh inning with runners on second and third, 1 out just after E-Rod gave up an RBI double giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead. The game was at risk of getting out of hand right there and then. However, after hitting the first man he saw, Ross struck out the next two batters keeping the game at 1-0. Tazawa pitched a scoreless eighth inning after the Red Sox managed to tie the game and Craig Kimbrel returned from knee surgery and looked as good as anyone could’ve expected striking out three batters and securing the save.
The bullpen has been in question much of the season, but with guys returning from injury and with the Red Sox making key trades getting Brad Ziegler and left-handed specialist Fernando Abad to fortify the bullpen, this team looks ready to make a playoff push. Before this season began, many fans just said that they wanted the Red Sox to have meaningful games come August. Well, it's August and the Sox are a game out of the AL East so thus far, fans are getting exactly what they asked for.