Upon returning from injury it was worrisome to watch Eduardo Rodriguez struggle with Triple-A lineups this season. Before his last start in the minors he had yet to throw a single game with more than 3 strikeouts in a game. His ERA was still above 4.29 and he was showing good control, but unable to miss enough bats. Now one game against minor league rosters does not make everything instantly better, but seeing that he can be that dominant pitcher sure doesn’t hurt.
In his last start against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs Rodriguez threw 7 innings while allowing a single run on a homer. He fanned 7 batters while not allowing a single walk. His control has been great this whole rehad only struggling in his first game with 3 walks in 3.2 innings. Since then he has allowed only 1 walk in 23.1 innings pitched. If he can ever transition that level of control to the majors while maintaining his strikeout rate of last year he would move from solid to elite level pitcher.
While not an elite groundball pitcher he has maintained a solid ground out to fly out level in these games as well. All really good signs he is feeling healthy and ready to go. Until we see him against major league hitters and get Pitch f/x data to review though it’s all on the Red Sox medical and scouting to see if he’s really ready to go and healthy enough to help the team.
Assuming Rodriguez is healthy the Red Sox rotation now appears to look fairly impressive. With Steven Wright having another great performance yesterday, David Price working his ERA down slowly and Rick Porcello pitching to a mid 3’s ERA as most expected this season it’s down to Joe Kelly to be the weakest link of the rotation. That said Kelly looks a lot better as the expendable number 5 then he does when the season started. If Clay Buchholz can ever make a case for getting back in the rotation or the Red Sox can make a move for another starter it is clear to everyone Kelly is the next one out of a spot.