Finally, Red Sox building some momentum in 2019 season

Ryan Hannable
April 12, 2019 - 10:05 pm

The first 13 games of the 2019 Red Sox season didn’t exactly go great. 

They were only 4-9 -- their worst start to a year since 2011 -- and didn’t once win back-to-back games. Also, their starting pitchers didn’t have a single win and only had one quality start. But, things have appeared to change, and who would’ve thought Eduardo Rodriguez would be the guy to help the Red Sox build momentum for the first time all season?

Rodriguez gave the team its best start from a starting pitching pitcher this season, as he led the way in a 6-4 win over the Orioles Friday night at Fenway Park. It was the first time the Red Sox have recorded back-to-back wins this year.

(Click here for a complete game recap.)

The 26-year-old took a perfect game into the fifth inning before allowing a two-out single to Hanser Alberto. In all, Rodriguez went 6 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits, while not walking a batter and striking out eight. 

Rodriguez had tremendous stuff as he recorded 21 swing-and-misses, including 10 on his changeup alone. He made only one mistake, which turned out to be the last pitch he threw — a two-run home run to Dwight Smith Jr. with two outs in the seventh inning.

The good pitching made it easy to hold a lead, which the Red Sox have had huge struggles with so far this year. Going into the game, they were just 1-6 when scoring first. 

Offensively, Mitch Moreland continued to swing a hot bat as he went 2-for-4 to extend his hit streak to five games. Another good sign was Andrew Benintendi homering over the Green Monster in the third inning for his first home run of 2019. The lefty hasn’t looked totally comfortable in the lead-off spot so far this year, so maybe the homer can get him going.

Even defensively the team got a spark with Jackie Bradley Jr. making one of his signature catches leaping against the center-field wall to take away an extra-base hit in the eighth inning.

While the start obviously isn’t what anyone was looking for, it is worth pointing out the team has a great chance to turn it around with 12 of their next 18 games at Fenway Park. 

"We’ve been waiting for this," manager Alex Cora said. "We’re going to be fine. We just have to play better baseball, and it starts with the starters, and we know they’re going to turn it around. Today was the beginning. Tomorrow, we have Rick Porcello. I can go to bed and tomorrow wake up like, yeah, we’ve got Rick Porcello on the mound, and we expect him to go deep in the game, and then the next day is David Price. And the next day is Hector [Velazquez], and he’s going to give us more than three innings. Then we have [Chris] Sale, and Nate [Eovaldi]. That’s why, on a nightly basis, we feel very comfortable. People go through slumps. Maybe we went through ours already.”

If the rest of the starting rotation can follow Rodriguez’s lead, it has a pretty good chance of happening.

After all, this team goes with its starters and for really the first time all season it finally got a good performance.

The Red Sox became the last team in the majors to get a win from a starting pitcher.

Related: Red Sox notes: Hector Velazquez to start on Marathon Monday