'What we learned': Red Sox’ 8-6 loss to White Sox
BOSTON - Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 8-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night. . .
1) Eduardo Rodriguez looked like last year's version
After making some mechanical adjustments and reverting to his more natural delivery, Rodriguez was consistently 95-96 mph with his fastball, getting lots of swings and misses.
Moreover, his changeup was effective and he wasn't telegraphing it the way he did in his last few starts.
Admittedly, the outing was far from perfect. Nursing a two-run lead in the sixth, Rodriguez mislocated a fastball to Todd Frazier, who hit it out to tie the game.
But the stuff was powerful and sharp, his delivery more natural, and there's reason for optimism going forward. One of the runs he allowed was unearned and if Rodriguez had done a better job with the pitch to Frazier, he may have gotten though the sixth allowing just one earned run.
A healthy, more effective Rodriguez would go a long way in patching one of the holes in the Red Sox rotation.
2) Replay is a mess
Take the eighth inning as an example. After Xander Bogaerts hit a ball high off the wall for what was ruled a double, the umpires huddled in the infield for several minutes and determined that there wasn't fan interference.
Then, John Farrell asked for a crew chief review on the matter of fan interference, and whether the ball should have been ruled a homer. The video review in New York determined that, yes, there was fan interference, but no, the ball wouldn't have gone out and kept Bogaerts at second.
Then, the umpires went over and explained the distinction to Farrell. Then Robin Ventura, the White Sox manager, visited the mound to discuss strategy, but didn't make a pitching change.
In all, six minutes elapses between actual pitches, and when it was all over, not everyone was convinced that the correct call had been made.
Other than that, though, replay is working just fine.
3) It's time to take Koji out of the eighth inning role
Uehara has served the Red Sox well in his time here, and who knows, may again. But for now, it's hard to entrust him with high-leverage, late-inning set-up situations.
At 41, Uehara can't seem to finish his splitter, leaving too many of them hanging over the middle of the plate. Two of them were hit out of the ballpark in the eighth inning alone Wednesday. He's allowed five homers in the first three months of this season, or, more than he allowed all of last year.
What used to be his "out'' pitch is now too often being hit out. That can't continue.
It's uncertain whether the Red Sox have a suitable replacement. Junichi Tazawa has been fine and is still trustworthy, but the other in-house options all comes attached with question marks.
Can Heath Hembree be trusted against lefthanded hitters?
Can Matt Barnes bury his curve ball more and not hang it over the middle, the way Uehara has with his splitter?
Has Robbie Ross's improved velocity made his a candidate?
Perhaps the answers have come from outside the organization. But at this point, it's pretty obvious that Uehara can't be trusted the way he has been the last three seasons.