Eduardo Rodriguez

Sunday's Red Sox-Angels matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Hector Santiago

July 19, 2015 - 6:03 am
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Two southpaws will toe the rubber Sunday night in Anaheim, as Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox look to get back on the winning track against AL All-Star Hector Santiago and the streaking Angels. Rodriguez has had an up-and-down rookie season to date. He came on strong with a 0.44 ERA through three career starts, but in the three starts following, he sported more earned runs than innings pitched. One of the issues that has troubled Rodriguez through his rough patch is pitch-tipping. From the stretch, Rodriguez would hold his head differently depending on whether he was throwing a fastball or an off-speed pitch. His veteran teammates and coaches alerted him to the problem and he has since taken measures to prevent it. "Working on all those four days before today. I tried to work on not tipping pitches to the hitters," Rodriguez said after his June 30 start against the Blue Jays, a six-inning, one-run performance. "Working in my bullpen, every time I threw the ball, I worked at that, so that'€™s what I did better today." Since correcting his pitch-tipping issue, Rodriguez has gone 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in three outings. He's improved his season record to 5-2 and has brought his ERA down from 4.33 to 3.59. During his last start before the All-Star break on July 11, Rodriguez held the Yankees to just two runs over 6 1/3 innings pitched en route to a 5-3 victory. After the game, Red Sox manager John Farrell praised the rookie for his composure on the mound. "One of the things that really stood out, a couple times he gives up solo home runs and he executes a first-pitch strike to the next hitter," Farrell said. "He didn'€™€™t fear the strike zone. He attacked the strike zone with quality stuff. A lot of stuff and for the most part was in command of the count." It will be interesting for the Red Sox to see how Rodriguez and his dominant raw stuff fare against the veteran lineup trotted out by the Angels, led by Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Santiago was a late add to the AL All-Star team and did not make an appearance in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic, but he has put up All-Star numbers. The Newark, New Jersey, native is 6-4 on the year with a 2.33 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. Hitters have mustered a .213 batting average against him and when they do reach base, they are stranded an AL-best 88.9 percent of the time. Recently, Santiago has proven himself as the top pitcher in the Angels aging rotation. Over his last four starts, he has given up just three runs in 27 innings pitched. He has limited opponents to a .167/.200/.260 slash line during this period and the Angels have won each of his starts. In his most recent outing on July 10, Santiago and the Angels traveled to Safeco Field to face the Mariners. The 27-year-old frustrated Mariner hitters all game long, giving up eight hits in seven innings of work, bending but not breaking as he held them to one run. Angels manager Mike Scioscia had nothing but praise for Santiago after the game, a 7-3 victory. "That might've been the best game he's pitched all year. The first-pitch strikes were off the charts," Scioscia said. "Everything he wanted to do he did. You saw him pitch inside, change speeds, use his breaking ball, really that's a terrific job from Hector." In his only start against the Red Sox this year, Santiago labored and eventually lost in a 6-1 defeat. The lefty needed 124 pitches to make his way through 6 2/3 innings, as he gave up seven hits and three earned runs in his third loss of the season. For his career, Santiago has never won against the Red Sox in four starts. Red Sox vs. Santiago (LHP) Mike Napoli (12 plate appearances): .167 AVG/.583 OBP/.667 SLG, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 6 walks Dustin Pedroia (12): .444/.500/.778, 3 doubles, 1 RBI David Ortiz (9): .250/.333/.250, 4 RBIs Brock Holt (6): .333/.333/.500, 1 double Hanley Ramirez (6): .167/.167/.167 Xander Bogaerts (5): .600/.600/.800, 1 double Mookie Betts (3): .000/.000/.000 Sandy Leon (3): .500/.500/.500 Shane Victorino (3): 1.000/1.000/1.000, 1 RBI, 1 walk No other Red Sox have faced Santiago. Angels vs. Rodriguez (LHP) No Angels have faced Rodriguez.

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