Photo Credit: MetroWest Daily News
Eduardo Rodriguez shifts between brilliance and frustration with each start. If and hopefully when Rodriguez finds his groove the Red Sox will have a solid number two starter.
The two C’s to produce a level of excellent pitching elegance are control and consistency and both represent why the talented Eduardo Rodriguez may wither on the pitching vine. The 2018 season becomes a microcosm for his career with high pitch counts and erratic starts.
This season Rodriguez has a 3.40 BB/9 that is counterbalanced by a 10.84 K/9. Interesting, but what caught my attention like a shiny object being dangled is a .444 average and a .193 average. Just what do they represent? The first is batting average on the first pitch and the second is batting average when the batter is ahead. For a comparison, the figures for Chris Sale is .259 and .238. The supposition that when the count favors the hitter is absent against Rodriguez, but swing from the heels on the first pitch.
Rodriguez’s game logs give some specific insight into his madding pitch count totals. Even his five-inning and one hit brilliance recently against the dreaded Yankees – a team Rodriguez has enjoyed as an opponent – saw 93 pitches tossed. Routinely Rodriguez visits triple digits in his sixth frame. Maybe they are just hitting the guy?
Again, looking at Sale circa 2017, the figures regarding soft, medium and hard-hit percent are similar to Rodriguez this season and in the past. One item that most certainly garners attention is Rodriguez’s propensity for allowing home runs. So far this season the total is seven in just 42.1 innings. A high fly ball percent (46.8) will coincide with that.
I wish there was some magic baseball pixie dust that could have not even every start, but most – hopefully – resemble the recent Yankee venture. Can the opponents wear pinstripes? As frustrating as this is for fans I am sure the coaching staff, particularly pitching coach Dana LeVangie and assistant pitching coach and noted metrics guru Brian Bannister, face the obvious. And, of course, the 25-year-old lefty himself. Performance equals dollars and there is plenty to be had.
Rodriguez is enticing – a pitching tease. When on his game or even slightly off his game the potential for a win is there. The injuries that have impacted his development are now – hopefully – a distant and fading memory. With the sudden, but maybe not surprising, regression of Rick Porcello, a questionable David Price, and an erratic Drew Pomeranz another steady arm in the rotation is crucial.