What we learned from the Red Sox' 15-4 win over the Twins
What we learned from the Boston Red Sox' 15-4 win over the Minnesota Twins...
1) Eduardo Rodriguez’s battle back is just as much mental as physical.
The left-handed starter is still dealing with his knee’s stability, as well as getting into mid-season form after missing a large chunk of the season’s start.
And while it’s known that moving around the mound has been a concern for him, he’s clearly battling something else. After getting a four-run cushion against a bad Minnesota offense, E-Rod was nibbling again. Even with a lead, he still tried to paint the black as if it was an airtight playoff game.
He had five runners reach base with two-outs, including Kurt Suzuki’s three-run blast. The homerun didn’t necessarily come on a bad pitch, but Rodriguez walked a batter in the inning and gave up a two-out base hit.
Rodriguez explained after the game that his command needed to be better. It was more that he needed to be aggressive.
Even with the three runs, the Twins still didn’t perform well against the lefty. The best thing the Red Sox can do for Rodriguez after this start is explain to him how he can’t try to be to fine when his offense provide early leads.
Especially when you’re playing a bad team. Attack them until they earn your respect.
2) Opponents can only hope to contain Xander Bogaerts.
Because it’s certain -- no one can stop him.
The shortstop has eight hits in the last two games, drilling a home run in both. On top of that, he had his heads-up first to third play on a grounder to second base.
What makes Bogaerts so good is the combination of physical tools and mental approach.
It’s not just that Boston’s shortstop is unflappable and can handle clutch situations. It’s more that he knows what to do in every scenario thrown his way -- and executes perfectly.
As soon as he saw Brian Dozier bobble the groundball, he knew the pitcher would forget to cover third, no one else was even close to third base and, most importantly, he’d probably be out if he tried to slide into the base anyways.
Although the play had less significance after Boston’s late offensive explosion, it was huge at the time. He gave Boston energy after Rodriguez had blown the lead, along with putting himself on third with less than two outs -- making Hanley Ramirez’s job all the easier, knocking him in with a sac fly.
Bogaerts can beat opponents with both his talent and is brain -- making him a constant threat.
3) The bullpen executed in tight situations.
The Red Sox bullpen had an easy three days before Saturday’s game, with both David Price and Steven Wright working deep into their starts, along with the off-day in between the starters.
So when Rodriguez had to leave in the middle of the fifth, Farrell was able to unload the relievers, and they performed.
Heath Hembree, Robbie Ross and Junichi Tazawa held Minnesota to no runs over 2.1 innings when the game was tight.
Hembree picked up Rodriguez after he struggled. Ross picked up Hembree after he got into a little trouble and Tazawa went right after Minnesota’s hitters for a quick seventh.
Koji Uehara looked good in his inning, but he had zero stress after Boston’s five-run eighth. And Clay Buchholz is obviously excused from this discussion -- since he’s not really a reliever, anyways.
But if the Red Sox gets lengthy outings from starters like they have recently, the occasional shortened outings won’t be as big of a deal.
Nor will Uehara’s age or Carson Smith being gone for the year.