Eduardo Rodriguez may have overcorrected.
This time, it back-fired.
After leading the American League in walks (while winning 19 games) during his last season in 2019, Rodriguez entered Saturday night with just two walks to 26 strikeouts in 23 innings this season.
Manager Alex Cora has been trying to get Rodriguez (and the rest of his staff) to trust in his stuff, have confidence to throw it over the plate and pound the zone.
Saturday, Rodriguez did just that, but he didn’t bring his best stuff.
The Rangers knocked him around for four runs on eight hits and a walk in an 8-6 win over the Red Sox.
Rodriguez was removed after five innings and just 67 pitches.
“I thought today with five innings, that was good enough,” Cora said. “It was a grind for him. They put good at-bats, his stuff wasn’t as sharp as before.”
Rodriguez said his manager was right for removing him after just 67 pitches.
“I want to go out there as much as I can, but I already gave up four runs, so I would say it was a good decision by him to take me out of the game,” he said. “Can’t complain about that.”
Cora’s assessment that Rodriguez wasn’t sharp “was right,” he said. “I feel like most of my pitches were on the plate today. I was throwing a lot of strikes but when you throw a lot of strikes you have to locate. Today I was missing too much on the plate.”
That was the lesson learned for Rodriguez in this one.
He averaged 92 mph on his fastball, up from his last start, but still 1-2 mph below his 93 to 94 mph average in previous seasons.
After missing the entire 2020 season, he feels like the velocity has surprisingly not been an issue.
“I’m going to get it back,” he said. “I feel like today was what, 91 to 94 mph? Last game I was 89-90 mph, so, it’s something that will get back with time. I feel good with that right now. I feel good to throw those pitches. If you see the last game I was hitting 89-90 mph and was available to go seven innings because I was locating my pitches.
“It’s more about location than throwing hard. You can throw 100 mph right down the middle, they’re going to hit it pretty hard. Raffy (Devers) hits fastballs like that all the time. If you throw 90 mph right where you want it, you’ll get a good result out of it. That’s what I think.”
He said not to read too much into his first bad start of the year.
“My body was feeling great,” he said. “It’s just that I was missing too much of the plate. That happens. Sometimes you miss a lot on the plate, sometimes you miss a lot off the plate and you give a lot of walks and you’ll get the same result.”