This is the Eduardo Rodriguez the Red Sox desperately need

Rob Bradford
June 20, 2019 - 3:28 am

MINNEAPOLIS -- The numbers weren't mind-blowing.

Seven innings. Four runs. Eight hits. 

Make no mistake about it, the results turned in by Eduardo Rodriguez Wednesday night were solid, particularly considering it was against the best offensive team in the majors. But the takeaway from the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Twins at Target Field highlighted by a bigger picture, one portrayed by a certain kind of pitcher. (For a complete recap of the Sox' win, click here.)

Rodriguez was the guy this team needed. Rodriguez was the guy this team will need.

"We expect great things out of him," said Red Sox pitcher Alex Cora regarding Rodriguez. "We know the talent and the stuff. It’s just a matter of putting everything together. He had it going in Houston. The last two, I think he’s been more consistent. It’s just a matter of using his weapons where he should. That’s the most important thing. The last two, he’s been amazing with that four-seam fastball."

This was a game the Red Sox needed one of those starts, the kind which sees the starter put his team on their back. The bullpen was thin, the opponent was postseason-caliber and there was a need to keep the momentum intact after a punch-in-the-gut, 17-inning loss the night before. The Rodriguez the Red Sox previously knew might not have been the best candidate to be relied on. This, however, was next-level E-Rod.

For the first time since 2015 the lefty managed to go back-to-back starts in which he went at least 6 1/3 innings. It also marked the second occasion in Rodriguez's career that he threw110 pitches or more.

He was going to be asked to be a workhouse. That was a given. How Rodriguez was going to react to such a request was the mystery.

"I know. I know," he said when reminded Cora was going to ask for innings no matter what. "Because the way the game was last night, I know. If I give up seven, eight, nine runs I have to keep pitching. Thank God I was able to give up just four runs and keep pitching."

The Red Sox saw each of their nine starters along with substitute Eduardo Nunez reach base safely, all by the end of the sixth inning.