ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - First impressions from the Red Sox' 13-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:
This felt like a bottoming out.
The Red Sox had themselved a bad week, losing series to both Chicago and Texas. But the prospect of a three-game series with the slumping Rays offered some hope for a reprieve.
The Rays, losers of 11 straight coming into Monday night, pounded Eduardo Rodriguez for nine runs in just 2.1 innings and romped to a one-sided win.
Rodriguez's start was the second straight game in which the Red Sox gave up multiple runs in the first inning. The Red Sox have been outscored 22-0 in the first inning over the last 15 games.
It's impossible to win being in a big hole so early night after night. It's demoralizing to the entire club.
Just when it seemed like Eduardo Rodriguez had figured some things out. . .
Rodriguez allowed four runs - three earned - in six innings last week against White Sox, but made some significant steps. His fastball had more power and he seemed to have worked out some delivery issues, improving location and command.
But Monday night represented a huge step backward, with Rodriguez hammered for five runs in the first and four more in the third before he could retire a second hitter.
The stuff was flat. And Rodriguez's body language wasn't particularly great.
It seems hard to believe that this is the same guy who was so impressive at times a year ago. Then again, clearly, -- he's not the same guy.
Dustin Pedroia still cares.
In the second inning, with Eduardo Rodriguez having already given up five runs in the first, the Red Sox infield gathered on the mound as pitching coach Carl Willis came out to talk to the pitcher.
NESN cameras showed an animated Pedroia airing out Pedroia with a forceful speech. Rodriguez was shown simply nodding along in agreement, and Pedroia seemed to close his exhortation with "Let's go!''
It's impossible to know what Pedroia was said or even what the general message was. But there's no doubting Pedroia's competitive spirit, ever.
Give some credit to Bryce Brentz.
Brentz's career has been pockmarked by injuried, some of them very poorly timed. There have been times when the Red Sox needed outfield help and Brentz was on the DL in Pawtucket.
He's likely not long for the major league roster as some injured players are soon to return, leading to his likely return to the minors.
But Brentz, who hit his first major league homer Sunday, continued with the hot bat Monday, smacking two doubles and a single. He's now 7-for-15 since being called up last Friday.