First impressions of the Boston Red Sox’ 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles:
Not enough can be said about Mookie Betts.
After just missing a down-and-out fastball with the bases loaded, Betts destroyed a hanging slider from Yovani Gallardo -- a no-doubter off the bat. Then he launched a mid-90s fastball from the Orioles’ All-Star set-up man, Brad Brach, after the Red Sox bullpen coughed up the lead that he’d gotten them.
Clutch performances in two pivotal at-bats, against a top-tier team.
Truly an MVP performance.
Eduardo Rodriguez was pitching like he was completely healthy making it all the more odd that he got hurt.
It’s undeniable that Rodriguez was at his best. Maybe ever while wearing a Red Sox uniform. He didn’t lean heavily on his change-up, and incorporated his slider well. Rodriguez was set to have a deep outing not only because of his efficient pitch count, but also because he almost solely relied on his fastball.
Fifty of Rodriguez’s 62 pitches were fastballs.
He hadn’t shown Orioles hitters anything, and he was still carving through them in their second time around the order. And he was in position to continue that the next time through, too.
The bullpen almost coughed up another one.
To put Matt Barnes in that group, given he threw two strong innings -- and the Orioles’ one hit off him was an infield single -- isn’t justifiable. But Fernando Abad has been nothing but a major headache for the Red Sox. Another strong reliever from a small market who can’t handle the spotlight.
And then Brad Ziegler was disappointing, too.
The Red Sox were lucky he only allowed the one walk with the bases loaded because he didn’t have a great demeanor on the mound.
Good thing for Boston that Robbie Ross Jr. came to play and Craig Kimbrel attacked opposing hitters.
Even though it was a hamstring issue, not a quad/knee issue, John Farrell was smart to not chance anything with Rodriguez.
First off, hamstrings can be tricky. They don’t always heal quickly, so it’s best to not chance anything.
Second, he needs his hamstrings for rotational power -- like any pitcher -- so had Rodriguez continued to pitch he runs the risk of putting more strain on his hamstring (naturally) or re-aggravating his knee by compensating in some manner.