It was a night of huge changes behind the scenes for a struggling franchise, but on the field it was all smooth sailing for the Red Sox, as they cruised to a 9-1 victory over the Indians behind a strong start from Eduardo Rodriguez.
The reason Eduardo gets top-billing is because it's hard to pick out a single star on offense tonight. There are plenty of options, thankfully! Travis Shaw was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, but his hits only set the table, never providing the exclamation mark, but only for the lack of opportunity. Mookie Betts had the big hit that broke the floodgates, clearing the bases with a second-inning double to the base of the wall in left when Trevor Bauer tried to sneak a third straight curveball past him. Brock Holt drove in the other run that inning, part of a three-hit night.
It was almost a complete effort from the Red Sox lineup. Sandoval, Ortiz, and Swihart each produced two hits, Xander Bogaerts flashed some power, and Rusney Castillo reached base twice. Only Hanley Ramirez went 0-for which, to be frank, is just kind of how the season is going for him.
It was all a bit unnecessary, though, because Eduardo Rodriguez was on tonight. Rodriguez started his outing just as strong as plenty of other Red Sox pitchers have of late. He struck out five batters as he went through the lineup the first time in order. But unlike those other Boston starters, when it came time to do it again, he followed through. No, he didn't accrue any more strikeouts, but only because, with Rodriguez cutting through them with ease, the Indians got aggressive at the plate.
It didn't help. They still got out, they just did so more quickly, in less impressive fashion. Francisco Lindor finally got the Indians a hit in the fourth, but it came in the midst of three quick ground ball outs. The fifth saw them go down in order on all of six pitches. As Rodriguez' pitch count rose, he did falter a little, hanging a slider to Michael Brantley in the seventh resulting in a solo shot, but Rodriguez erased a single on the ground with a double play on the ground, and worked around a pair of base hits in the next frame to finish his night with eight innings of one-run ball.
It was just a very well-played game by the Red Sox, in all aspects of the game. Pablo Sandoval even looked like the defensive third baseman the Red Sox expected to get when they signed him. It's a game that's overshadowed by everything happening in the front office. But...it's a nice treat all the same.