Even though Eduardo Rodriguez left Saturday’s game after spraining his ankle and is now on the disabled list, don’t let that distract you from the fact that the Red Sox are going into the All-Star break a whopping 38 games above .500. Seriously, 68-30 in mid-July? I thought the Sox would be competitive this year, but I definitely was not prepared for this overwhelmingly pleasant surprise.
Still, seeing E-Rod twist that ankle, and then hearing the news on Sunday that he may have suffered serious damage to his ankle ligaments … well, that puts a damper over this entire All-Star break. It’s like when you watch a really good movie, but then the ending just leaves you feeling disappointed and let down. You had a blast watching the movie, but you just can’t get the mediocre conclusion out of your mind.
That’s what this Rodriguez injury is like. 2018 has been an incredible season, to put it mildly, for the Red Sox, but the possibility of losing Rodriguez for an extended period of time is now hanging over our heads like a bad movie ending as we head into the break. Sure, the Sox have already lost Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright to the DL, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t really have the same impact.
With Rodriguez though? That’s a huge blow. Not catastrophic, but it’s not nothing either. Other than His Highness Chris Sale, Rodriguez has arguably been the next best starter on this team. He was 11-3 before Saturday’s start, boasted an ERA of 3.44 while averaging more than a strikeout per inning. On Saturday afternoon, he was in the process of turning his best start of the year; he looked like he was ready to pitch into the seventh or eighth inning, when he’s so often had trouble making it past the fifth or sixth.
In 2018, Sox fans have, with great anticipation, looked forward to every start by either Sale or Rodriguez. Rick Porcello? Sometimes. David Price? Again, sometimes. But Sale has been automatic and Rodriguez hasn’t been all that far behind – a marvelous sight to a fan base that, as recently as three years ago, was legitimately wondering if we had the worst pitching staff in baseball.
The latest update on Rodriguez was from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, saying that he will be in a boot for two weeks, and then he’ll be re-evaluated after that. If this turns out to be just that, then perhaps the crisis will be somewhat averted. But there’s no way Boston can bank on that though. With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, it might be time for Dealin’ Dave Dombrowski to seriously look into going after another quality starter. As unfortunate as it is, there’s just no way that Sale can carry this rotation to success during the stretch run of the season (and postseason) if he’s being backed up only by an inconsistent duo in Price and Porcello, serious question marks in Pomeranz and Wright, and a lack of upside from the depth options.
So not it’s time to hope that Rodriguez will be back sooner rather than later. In the meantime, the Red Sox are the best team in baseball, are now enjoying a 4.5-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East, and they will not be playing any games for the next few days. It’s time to kick back, relax, put E-Rod’s injury out of our minds, and try to enjoy a Home Run Derby and an All-Star Game …
… until the second half of the season begins, and the race for the American League pennant really tries to intensify.