Eduardo Rodriguez

Saturday's Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Ivan Nova

July 11, 2015 - 4:09 am
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In the second game of a crucial three-game set before the All-Star break, the Red Sox will put Eduardo Rodriguez on the hill against Ivan Nova of the Yankees.

Rodriguez owns a 4-2 record and 3.69 ERA in eight starts since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket in late May. The left-hander has a 1.17 WHIP and 3.12 FIP through his first 46 1/3 innings as a major leaguer.

Rodriguez had trouble with tipping his pitches, but seems to have righted the ship in that regard. He had two miserable starts against Toronto and Baltimore in which he allowed nine and six earned runs, respectively. In each of his other six outings (including the past two), the southpaw has conceded just one or zero runs.

In his last start against the Astros on Sunday, Rodriguez pitched five innings and allowed one run on six hits. Rodriguez, 22, struck out a career-high eight batters while receiving a no-decision. He didn't have his best stuff, requiring 101 pitches to get through five frames. The Sox went on to win the game by a 5-4 score.

Coming back from a stint on the 60-day DL, Ryan Hanigan caught Rodriguez for the first time on Sunday.

"œI got a chance to catch a couple bullpens when I was coming back and he was just on point. Then [Sunday] it was awesome,"€ Hanigan said following the game. "When he was missing, he was just missing, so his pitch count got a little high by the fifth. His command, his execution, just his stuff in general is pretty impressive for a guy his age, for sure."

Saturday's contest will be the first taste of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry for Rodriguez.

Nova has made only three starts on the season after returning from Tommy John surgery. He made four starts last year before going under the knife, and his rehab took him until June 24 this year. So far, he has gone 1-2 with a 2.65 ERA.

His ERA looks solid, but some other numbers paint a less rosy picture of Nova's performance since coming back: He has a 4.78 FIP and 1.412 WHIP, allowing 17 hits in as many innings pitched. Albeit in very small sample size, his 4.8 Ks-per-nine innings is much lower than before the injury, when he struck out 7.5 per nine in 2013.

Nova has lost his past two starts, though he has done so without allowing an excess of runs. On Sunday the right-hander hurled five innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out one.

"I thought he did a pretty good job for not having anything," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Nova. "He didn't have command of his sinker. He probably threw three or four curveballs out of 20 for strikes -- he didn't have command of that. He threw a couple changeups."

"It was not there the last two times and there's not much to say," Nova said. "I think I got lucky that I only gave up four runs."

A Yankee for his whole career, Nova has a good share of experience against the rival Red Sox. The 28-year-old has made nine appearances against Boston, eight of them starts, and worked to a 3-3 record. His ERA is an even 5.00 and he has a 1.312 WHIP in 45 innings against the Sox.

Yankees vs. Rodriguez (LHP)

No Yankees batters have faced Rodriguez.

Red Sox vs. Nova (RHP)

David Ortiz (23 plate appearances): .316 AVG/.435 OBP/.526 SLG, 1 HR, 1 double, 4 RBIs, 4 doubles, 1 strikeout

Mike Napoli (10): .250/.400/1.000, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Alejandro De Aza (7): .714/.714/1.143, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Ryan Hanigan (5): .400/.400/1.600, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Pablo Sandoval (3): .667/.667/1.000, 1 double

Shane Victorino is 0-for-2 with an RBI against Nova.

No other Red Sox have faced Nova.