On Wednesday, May 30, the Blue Jays finish a tough series against the Boston Red Sox with an afternoon game (1:05 start). The young lefthander, Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start for the Red Sox. Sam Gaviglio will make his third start for the Blue Jays.
Eduardo Rodriguez is a promising young starter for the Red Sox. With strong numbers in the minors, the Red Sox have been patiently awaiting a breakout season for the 25-year-old. After beginning the year on the 10-day disabled list, the young lefty has been worth 0.9 fWAR, while posting a 5-1 record, 4.02 ERA, 10.9 K/9, and an above average 111 ERA+.
Rodriguez has only improved as this season has progressed. After two straight starts allowing five earned runs to the Royals and Rangers midway through the season, Rodriguez has turned it around over his last four turns. Over these starts, the lefty has compiled 20 1/3 innings and posted a 2-1 record and 2.13 ERA.
It should be noted, however, that none of these starts have gone past two outs in the sixth inning. Despite strong numbers in these games, Rodriguez is yet to have a dominant 6+ inning start. In the four aforementioned starts, Rodriguez pitched 93, 98, 110, and 101 pitches, none of which got him through six innings.
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The southpaw keeps his pitching repertoire simple—alternating between a four-seam fastball, change-up, cutter, and slider. Rodriguez loves his fastball; in fact, it has been used over 30% more than any other pitch.
The left-hander features the heater 52.5% of the time, while averaging a decent velocity of 93 mph. As well, the fastball produces some good glove side run to accompany the velocity. As a result, the heater has produced 22 punch outs and a tiny .198 batting average against.
The left-hander has utilized a cutting fastball 17.9% of the time this season. Averaging a decent 88.6 mph, the cutter holds similar movement to the slider—just a little more cut and less drop. Overall, the cutter has allowed nine singles and no extra base hits. As well, it has produced ground balls at a great rate of 52.17% of balls in play.
Rodriguez will occasionally feature a slider, currently used just 9.1% of the time. The slider has steadily dropped in use rate from 15.6% in 2016, 11.3% in 2017, and 9.1% this season. It has not produced much swing and miss—attaining whiffs on just 20.75% of swings—and has allowed an extreme rate of fly balls. Even worse, the slider has allowed three home runs.
As referenced before, Rodriguez struggles with keeping his pitch count down. This is likely because he both strikes out an above average amount of batters, 28% K-rate, and walks an above average amount of batters, 8.2% BB-rate.
Interestingly, the left-hander has identical ground ball and fly ball rates, tied at 42.1%. Clearly Rodriguez relies on the fly ball to achieve outs. His fly ball rate is quite extreme, but his ground ball rate is right around average. Holding a 1.17 HR/9, the southpaw has kept batters in the ballpark at an impressive rate for a fly ball pitcher.
Nobody on the Blue Jays has had any true, sustained success against the Venezuela native. Devon Travis and Kevin Pillar have the best numbers. Travis is 3-10 with two doubles, Pillar is 5-18 with two doubles. Josh Donaldson has been awful, achieving just one hit in 16 at-bats while striking out six times. Donaldson has also walked five times, but a .063 AVG and .286 OBP is still pretty bad. However, an extra day to rest with an off-day approaching could be perfect for Donaldson’s most recent injury scare.
The Blue Jays must try to defeat another difficult starter to finish the series. However, when playing a top-three team in the MLB, nothing will come easily. The Blue Jays must try to scrape together some kind of offence—and receive a good start from Sam Gaviglio. Luckily, he has been excellent for the Blue Jays thus far.