The Boston Red Sox took on the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday in the first game of their three game series, at Tropicana Field in Tampa. The Sox did not get off to a good start as starter Eduardo Rodriguez struggled out of the gate, as after 3 innings he allowed 9 runs. The Sox were able to score 7 but after the fact and the attempt was of no avail. Not many positives came out of the game as the Rays were smacking the ball all night, hitting 4 home runs and 18 hits.
The big worry from this game is again the starting pitching, Rodriguez not only got shelled but he couldn’t even be efficient. He went 3 innings pitched allowed 9 ER, 11 hits and a walk. In those three innings he threw 75 pitches. Like I have said all season if the bullpen has to continue to eat innings the team will struggle later on in the year. That’s 5 games in a row without a quality start from a starter. That’s terrible! Going forward the starters need to get better. I also stress the need to go out and acquire a starting pitcher above anything else, the lineup is solid and playoff caliber, however the pitching needs to be significantly improved.
As for Rodriguez, his performance earned him a spot in Triple-A, with an ERA of 8.59 this season. After coming back from injury this season he had a few quality starts and has since struggled to find his groove and been getting hit very hard as he ERA shows. Anytime an ERA is that high there should be questions for concern and he is right fully so placed down in the minors until he figures his stuff out.
The lone positive in the game, the Sox did score 7 and have 12 hits. In a typical game that’s great, however most of these were during mop up time therefore don’t buy into it too much. So look at it how you want not much good came out of the game.
What this does for the Red Sox in the AL East is puts them 4.5 games back of the first place Baltimore Orioles. There is a still a lot of season left and plenty of time for the standings to shake up, however as of right Fenway would be hosting a one game wildcard against the Toronto Blue Jays. So right now the AL East holds both wild card spots which is very impressive and shows a strong division. I like to look at this as more of a positive but, 4.5 games back of first is the furthest the Sox have been away. Now I think this is good because the standings fluctuate so it’s not that big of deal to be 4.5 back with more than half the season yet to be played. This should be a good thing showing that the Sox have been in the mix all year and will hopefully continue their success.
The Sox will be taking on the Rays again at Tropicana with first pitch set around 7:10. The Rays will be throwing their ace Chris Archer, who has struggled this year, but is that due to his team. He is 4-10 with an ERA of 4.70 but he is still a good pitcher if put in the right situation. If he is on, he can be un hittable. For the Sox Rick Porcello will be going, who has probably been the best and most consistent starter for the team with an ERA of 3.93 and a record of 8-2 it is fair to say he has been the best starter for the Sox. Hopefully he throws better than Rodriguez did last night.