Once again, Eduardo Rodriguez has teased Red Sox Nation.
After just one start following his failure-induced demotion to Pawtucket, Rodriguez returned to the rotation Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, and the young lefty picked up win in a 5-2 victory over the Yankees.
Rodriguez recorded just one strikeout, but he was in command over seven strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks.
The Triumphant Return of Eduardo Rodriguez: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 K, 2 BB. 97 pitches, 62 strikes.
— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) July 16, 2016
Rodriguez was the first Red Sox starter since Frank Viola in 1992 to record a win against the Yankees with at least seven innings and no more than one strikeout.
Offensively, Boston was able to get to Yankees’ starter C.C. Sabathia for five runs, thanks in part to a three-run homer from Sandy Leon in the sixth inning.
Not everyone loved that Sandy Leon home run. https://t.co/PyWdQ3OZ8s
— Red (@SurvivingGrady) July 16, 2016
Leon’s absurd emergence continued, as he finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs. It was Leon’s second homer of the season, as Sox’ catchers now have accounted for just four home runs on the season, three of which have come against the yankees.
The Sox got on the board first in the third inning, when Xander Bogaerts scored Bryce Brentz after grounding into a double-play. Bogaert’s was originally ruled out to end the inning, but the call was reversed after instant replay.
Rodriguez’s lone mistake came in the bottom-half of the third, when Brett Gardner tagged him for a solo home run to right-center field.
Leon got the Sox back on top in the fourth, scoring Jackie Bradley Jr (3-for-4) with a single.
Outside of an eighth inning home run for Chase Headley off of Matt Barnes, the Boston bullpen was able to continue Rodriguez’s success, with Koji Uehara pitching a perfect ninth to pick up his sixth save of the season.
With the win, the Red Sox’ record improved to 51-38, as their 9-2 record in July is the best in the league.
Boston will look to earn the series sweep — potentially their second of the season against the Yankees — Sunday night when they send David Price to the mound opposite New York’s Masahiro Tanaka.
Another save for Koji and that’s 6 wins in a row for the #RedSox!
FINAL: Red Sox 5, Yankees 2. pic.twitter.com/qYuOEGA6Ep
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 16, 2016
Rodriguez — This was a big start for E-Rod. He wasn’t overpowering, but he was in command throughout his outing. Twice the Yankees had the tying runner in scoring position with two outs, but both times Rodriguez was able to buckle-down and end the threat. His numbers (7.18 ERA) are still nauseating, but with the addition of Drew Pomeranz, this was Rodriguez’s audition for the fifth spot in the rotation, and he was able to make the most of it.
Eduardo Rodriguez: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K
Only 3rd game this year with 7+ IP, 4 or fewer H, 0-1 K
Jeff Locke 5-30, Jered Weaver 6-19
— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) July 16, 2016
Leon — Just your typical multi-hit game for your Red Sox catcher, who happens to own a .458 batting-average and 1.212 OPS. Leon now has 27 hits in 59 at-bats. No this is not an extended typo. The 27-years-old journeyman backstop has been a revelation for the Sox, and — for the time being — has helped fans forget about the offensive ineptitude of the recently demoted Christian Vazquez, and injury to Blake Swihart.
According to @twitter Sandy Leon "started trending in the last hour."
What's taken you all so long?
— Tom Caron (@TomCaron) July 16, 2016
Bradley Jr. — The three-hit effort raised Bradley’s average to .299, and his OPS to .926, as well as giving him a 13-game hitting-streak. On the heels of a multi-hit performance in the All-Star game, Bradley continued to prove anticipation of an epic drop-off were — while warranted — greatly exaggerated.
Bogarets — The relatively quiet June and July continued for Bogaerts, as he finished 0-for-5 Saturday afternoon, dropping his average to .322. There’s hardly any reason for legitimate concern, but it’s clear that even a hitter of Bogaerts’ caliber is subject to a slump every now-and-then.
#RedSox have 5 runs. No hits, no runs, 1 RBI (on a fielder’s choice) from Pedroia, Bogaerts, Ortiz and Ramirez.
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 16, 2016
Ramirez — Obviously, at this point in the season, the Red Sox have to pleased that Ramirez is still healthy, has played a good first base, and has yet to be a total putz. But a guy with that type of contract shouldn’t be excused for being so punchless at the plate. Ramirez also finished 0-for-5 Saturday, and his average is down to .283. No, that number is not terrible, but with just 28 extra-base hits (eight homers), it’s a relatively soft batting-average.
I can finally post this GIF of Hanley Ramirez talking smack to the camera in the dugout pic.twitter.com/8FjoxIhni3
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) July 16, 2016
KEEP AN EYE ON
Drew Pomeranz will be activated on Sunday, and debut on Wednesday. Junichi Tazawa could come off the disabled-list on Tuesday, and Joe Kelly’s move to the bullpen appears imminent. And with Rodriguez earning at least another start, we may have seen the last of Clay Buchholz in a Red Sox’ uniform.
(9/1/07) In his second big league start Clay Buchholz throws a no hitter versus the Baltimore Orioles. pic.twitter.com/1tD4qIneBx
— uwu Sec MLB (@30SecMLB) September 7, 2015
The second-longest tenured Red Sox was told he will remain in the bullpen following the trade for Pomeranz, and his pregame comments on Saturday certainly made it sound like Buchholz knows his days are numbered. No he’s not going to net a great haul in a trade, but with the August 1 deadline fast-approaching, it sure feels like Buchholz will finally take his act somewhere else.