Eduardo Rodriguez

Sunday's Red Sox-Royals matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Edinson Volquez

August 23, 2015 - 5:50 am
Categories: 

With a four-game winning streak in the rearview mirror, the Red Sox will go for the four-game series win Sunday against the AL-best Royals when they send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound against Edinson Volquez. Fresh off one of his most encouraging starts of the season, Rodriguez will look to gain some consistency Sunday at the friendly confines. The southpaw dazzled Tuesday against the Indians, twirling eight innings of one-run ball. Despite hurling a season-high 114 pitches, he did not issue a free pass against the team with the AL's highest walk rate (8.9 percent). After the game, a 9-1 victory, interim manager Torey Lovullo said Rodriguez's command around the strike zone worked wonders. "I think he was pounding the strike zone with an aggressive fastball, getting ahead of hitters," Lovullo said. "There'€™s no secret to having success on a given night from a pitching standpoint. It'€™s getting ahead of the batter and staying in the strike zone. He got in a great run for several innings. He was comfortable, free and easy. His worst inning he threw 19 pitches prior to the eighth inning. We wanted to send him back out there and get the last inning he really deserved. A great effort by him tonight." Red Sox fans can only hope Tuesday's gem gives Rodriguez confidence going forward. The 22-year-old has been riddled with a host of issues throughout 2015, and his 7-5 record and his 4.48 ERA are not indicative of his potential. This is a sentiment shared by newly hired president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. "You look at Rodriguez pitch, and I joked with [manager] John Farrell," Dombrowski said Wednesday. "I told him [Tuesday] night, I said, '€˜Gee, it looks like we'€™ll win a lot of games if we pitch Rodriguez 162 [times].'€™ And I don'€™t mean that as anything about any other pitchers, but he'€™s got a chance to be a No. 1-type pitcher." Dombrowski has reason to be excited. In high leverage situations, Rodriguez has thrived this year, sporting a .203 opposing batting average in tie games and a .172 mark with two outs and runners in scoring position. Despite all the criticism for his pitch-tipping, he appears so be doing just fine when it matters most. Rodriguez's foe on Sunday, Volquez, has enjoyed one of his best major league seasons to date. The 11-year veteran is 11-7 with a 3.20 ERA, continuing the career rejuvenation he saw with the Pirates last year when he went 13-7 with a 3.04 ERA. Volquez has proven himself to be well worth the two-year, $20 million investment the Royals made in him this past offseason. He leads the team in innings pitched (152), punchouts (114) and wins. Painted by some pundits as having a weak rotation, the Royals have relied on Volquez all season long and he has proven key to their 73-48 record. Over his last nine starts, Volquez has picked up the pace even more. He's logged 56 1/3 innings, allowed just four home runs and produced a 2.72 ERA during this stretch. He was quite impressive in his most recent outing, a 3-1 victory over the Reds on Tuesday, tossing six innings and striking out seven on 112 pitches. Facing his former team, Volquez said he wasn't surprised when he saw the Reds' only run come off the bat of Eugenio Suarez. "I played [in Cincinnati] for four years, and I know the ball carries," Volquez said after the game. "It'€™s a small ballpark. There'€™s nothing you can do about it. You've got to keep pitching and fighting and competing." Volquez will travel to another small park on Sunday, when he toes the rubber at Fenway Park. He'll have further reason to worry when he sees Red Sox hitters have slugged .493 collectively off of him in 77 plate appearances. Royals vs. Rodriguez (LHP) Lorenzo Cain (3 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.000 OBP/.000 SLG Alcides Escobar (3): .500/.667/1.000, 1 double, 1 RBI Eric Hosmer (3): .333/.333/.333 Kendrys Morales (3): .333/.333/.333 Mike Moustakas (3): .000/.000/.000 Salvador Perez (3): .000/.000/.000 Alex Rios (3): .333/.333/.333 Omar Infante is 1-for-2 with a double against Rodriguez. No other Royals have faced Rodriguez. Red Sox vs. Volquez (RHP) Hanley Ramirez (26): .217/.269/.261, 1 double, 5 strikeouts Pablo Sandoval (16): .375/.375/.563, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs Josh Rutledge (11): .400/.455/.600, 1 triple Ryan Hanigan (7): .000/.143/.000, 2 strikeouts David Ortiz (6): .000/.333/.000 Mookie Betts (3): 1.000/1.000/2.500, 1 HR, 1 RBI Alejandro De Aza (3): .333/.333/1.000, 1 triple Brock Holt (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 RBI Blake Swihart is 2-for-2 with a double against Volquez. No other Red Sox have faced Volquez.