On Monday night, The Red Sox pitching staff officially reached its crisis point.

Facing the Tampa Bay Rays — owners of the worst offense in the AL and losers of 11 straight —  Eduardo Rodriguez lasted just 2.3 innings, giving up nine runs on 11 hits. The Sox staged a minor comeback, but eventually fell 13-7 at Tropicana Field.

It was their 10th loss in their last 15 games, as they now sit a season-high 4.5 games behind Baltimore for first place in the AL East.

There’s no sugar-coating this one. Rodriguez was pitiful. Teammate Dustin Pedroia made sure he was aware of his sullen demeanor before exiting the game, and management sent a similar message following the game, immediately optioning Rodriguez to Triple-A Pawtucket.

On the heels of three short, poor performances by Boston starters in Texas, the team — and bullpen — needed at least an extended outing from E-Rod.

But the lefty allowed the Rays to send nine men to the plate in the first inning, to the tune of five runs. The Rays tacked on four more before Rodriguez exited, including a pair of homers in the third.

The latest starter to see an uptick in his ERA, Rodriguez’s now stands at a staff-worst 8.59.

The talk after the game will surely be focused on Pedroia’s verbal emasculation of Rodriguez in the second inning.

After allowing an infield single, Rodriguez visibly hung his head, prompting a mound visit from pitching Coach Carl Willis. The rest of the infield joined the fun, but Pedroia took charge, emphatically directing a number of choice words at his teammate.

Predictably, neither Pedroia nor manager John Farrell elaborated on the nature of the conversation after the game, with Pedroia saying: “I was talking to him about baseball.”

Following the loss, Farrell called a team-only meeting, prohibiting even clubhouse attendants from entering.

The Red Sox were able to muster some offense in garbage time, knocking in four runs in the last four innings, finishing with 12 hits. The 18 hits for the Rays were a season high.

With Rodriguez’s demotion to Pawtucket, it’s unclear where the team will turn for rotation help. The bullpen was once again taxed extensively, so it’s likely the team will call up an extra reliever for the next week.

The loss dropped the Red Sox’ record to 41-35, as the team is now three games under .500 against the American League East. For the sake of comparison, the Orioles are 22-13 against the division.

The Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound Tuesday night for the second game of this three game series. Tampa Bay will counter with Chris Archer.


Sandy Leon — The backup catcher stayed hot at the plate, finishing 2-for-4 with his first home run of the year. With speculation swirling about which catcher will be left out upon Ryan Hanigan’s return, Leon only strengthened his case to stay with the Red Sox.

Bryce Brentz — Brentz had another decent night at the dish, finishing 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. He’s now hitting .467 in his limited action.


Rodriguez — It’s one thing to pitch horribly, but it’s another thing to look completely defeated. Rodriguez seemed lost, and the Pedroia lashing in the second inning was a truly surreal moment.

It’s not like the team has many better options. Henry Owens has continued to struggle in Pawtucket, and Brian Johnson appears to still be dealing with anxiety issues. Sean O’Sullivan sure isn’t going to move the needle, and Joe Kelly is still hurt. Tough times indeed.

Bullpen — It’s debatable whether or not Farrell needed to use his back-end relievers — Uehara and Kimbrel — but that doesn’t excuse them from pitching horribly. Uehara continued to struggle, surrendering two runs on a hit and a walk in an inning of work, raising his ERA to 5.08. Kimbrel, despite striking out the side, wasn’t much better, allowing one run on three hits in the ninth inning. This team needs four Steven Wrights, and it needed them yesterday.


Dave Dombrowski has stated repeatedly that the team isn’t looking to make a trade this early in the season, but with the division slipping away, they may have no choice.

In addition to the glaring hole(s) in the rotation and bullpen, the Sox are in desperate need of an everyday left-fielder, which would allow the likes of Brock Holt, Chris Young, and Marco Hernandez to slot back into their appropriate seats on the bench.