The back and forth season rolls on, as the Red Sox responded to losing both games of a day-night doubleheader by putting up an 11-spot on the Detroit Tigers.
Now, there will be many of you who will say that it’s the Detroit Tigers and the Red Sox should beat up on teams like that. You’re right! They should. But they haven’t. Seeing the Red Sox do the things that they’re supposed to do hasn’t exactly been commonplace in 2019, so we can take plenty of positives out of this one. The biggest positive of all? Eduardo Rodriguez.
I wrote before Wednesday night’s game that Rodriguez had been on a strikeout binge lately, but that the Tigers were one of the more difficult teams to rack up K’s against. Rodriguez didn’t find it all that difficult, as he punched out seven batters over six one-run innings, allowing just two hits. Even with the 11 runs and the great pitching performance from Rodriguez, perhaps the biggest story to come out of this one was the fact that Dustin Pedroia — yes, the Red Sox second baseman — was the one who showed Rodriguez his new breaking ball. You read that correctly.
Rodriguez spoke after the game and said that he was sitting in the dugout with Pedroia a few days ago, and the veteran second baseman simply asked Rodriguez if he wanted to see a nasty breaking ball pitch grip. Rodriguez agreed, and Pedroia showed the lefty a slider/curveball hybrid pitch grip that the 26-year-old used in his next bullpen and then debuted it for the first time against the Tigers on Wednesday. Rodriguez talked about how it was a completely different grip from any other grip he had ever used before, and saw a break that he had never seen from one of his breaking pitches before.
There ya go. Baseball’s weird, man.
Normally, you’d see eleven runs on the scoreboard and check to see who went deep. The answer to that question is nobody. JD Martinez did, however, have three hits including a ground rule double that he hit so hard that it got wedged in the garage door out in left. That, and eight Red Sox hitters drove in at least one run. This was also a 4-1 ballgame going into the bottom of the eighth before Boston broke this one wide open, largely aided by not one, not two, but three bases loaded walks.
The Red Sox bullpen sucked out loud during the doubleheader, but none of the three main arms appeared in either of those games. On Wednesday night, Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes both appeared, combining for a scoreless inning each, as both reliever struck out the side. Barnes’ inning wasn’t as smooth as Workman’s, as the righty loaded the bases with a pair of hits and a walk, but buckled down to punch out Ronny Rodriguez to leave the bases loaded. Ryan Brasier more than likely would’ve had the ninth if the score stayed 4-1, but alas.
In the series finale on Thursday, it’ll be Jordan Zimmermann for Detroit, while Rick Porcello takes on his former team. Zimmermann started off the season hot with a 0.66 ERA through his first two starts, but has allowed 14 earned runs in 13.2 innings over his last three starts with five homers since. Porcello hasn’t been much better, allowing 16 earned runs in 17 innings this season over four starts.
Final score: Red Sox 11, Tigers 4