Eduardo Rodriguez Literally Stumbles Out Of The Gate, Proceeds To Get Rocked By The Orioles Without Making Any Excuses

If you were busy watching the NBA Finals, perhaps you missed that Eduardo Rodriguez slipped in the bullpen before his start, which was quite symbolic of how his outing ended up being.

Now, it’s important to note that after the game, Rodriguez brushed this off, claiming that it had absolutely nothing to do with his poor performance. Was he telling the truth? Was he lying so that it didn’t seem like he was making excuses? Whatever the truth is, I admire that A) he didn’t falsely use an excuse just because it was plausible, and B) if it actually did bother him, he still didn’t want to make any excuses. He owned it. He stunk and he faced the music without going the “yeah, but” route, which not every guy in this league would’ve done.

Rodriguez’s stinker — seven earned runs on eight hits with four home runs allowed in 5.2 innings — broke up a string of six consecutive quality starts for the left-hander. Rodriguez hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since his first outing of the season back on April 8, and that was only four earned runs.

I’m still intrigued by the whole tumble in the bullpen thing, though. They were showing side-by-side video on NESN of Rodriguez in his start last night next to video of a previous start and there was a noticeable difference in his delivery in that he wasn’t finishing his pitches the same. I’m not trying to make excuses for the guy, but there is something that we can pinpoint as a difference after the fall that isn’t just an abnormal pitching line. Something to keep an eye on in his next start and the days leading up to it.

When you look at the final score, it appears as though the game was closer than it actually was. The Red Sox were trailing 7-1 heading into the ninth inning and closed the gap a bit when Jackie Bradley Jr. connected for a three-run homer, his seventh of the season. Red Sox manager John Farrell benched Bradley for three games about a month ago (May 6-7, 9), and since he’s returned to the lineup as an everyday player, he’s hitting .273 with a .991 OPS, 6 homers, 4 doubles and 15 RBI in 19 games. Bradley’s .991 OPS over that span is second to only Mike Trout (1.317) among major league centerfielders.

A couple of guys who have been going unnoticed either because of their role or their spot in the batting order — Sam Travis went 2-for-3 last night, and he’s 7-for-14 since being called up with a couple doubles and a pair of walks. Pretty good, kid. Also, Christian Vazquez, the “catcher who can’t hit” continues to, uh…hit. He was 2-for-4 last night with 2 RBI, and he’s very quietly hitting .348 with an .845 OPS this year. It probably doesn’t feel like it, because we all went into this season thinking that Sandy Leon was the starting catcher and that’s that, but Vazquez has played in just one fewer game (29) than Leon (30), and has just nine fewer plate appearances.

Among the 43 catchers who have played at least 25 games this season, Vazquez is tied with Buster Posey for the second best batting average in the majors at that position. It’s not quite a fair comparison, given that Posey has 63 more at-bats than Vazquez, but Vazquez has had 92 at-bats this year and the league average at the catching position (min. 25 games) is 113.8 at-bats. So, while Vazquez might not be in Posey territory in terms of playing time, he’s not that far off from the rest of the pack in regards to all other backstops.

Final score: Orioles 7, Red Sox 5