I’m going to be very, very honest with you. I have no idea how to cover this suspended game today! Do I do lineups? Do I do a normal preview? Do I do a Gamethread? This is really weird! I’ve decided the answer to all of the questions above is no. Instead, I found the draft from the recap I was writing up when the game went suspended. I will leave that below so you can catch yourself up on how we got to the point at which they’ll restart the game, and then you can chat below with this serving as your Gamethread. Deal? Deal.
There have been very, very few positives for the Red Sox rotation this season. This is obviously not much of a secret to anyone even passively following the team. Still, one solid development for a starting pitcher has been Eduardo Rodriguez over the last couple of months. The lefty, while very good over this stretch, hasn’t been perfect, but the way he pitched has been very encouraging. He’s clearly making more of a conscious effort to pitch deeper into games, nibbling less around the zone and finally attacking hitters on a consistent basis.
At least, that is what he had been doing. On Wednesday in a rubber match against the Royals, Rodriguez spent much of the night regressing to old patterns, and while he ultimately got solid results that sort of seemed secondary as the start was happening. For one thing it seems extremely likely that a better team would have made him pay more for his effort. More importantly, it was clear pretty much from the start that he was not going to make it deep into this one regardless of results.
The first inning was a clear indication of the kind of night it was going to be for the southpaw, and the Royals got things started with a one-out base hit. After a second out, Rodriguez allowed another single and walk to load the bases. He would escape without allowing a run, but it took him 30 pitches to get through it.
The second was relatively easy for Rodriguez as he allowed just a bunt single, but Kansas City was able to get him in the third. That inning started with two quick outs, but then Rodriguez started to nibble and allow baserunners. He walked two straight batters with two outs before a base hit loaded the bases. He was still just an out away from escaping unscathed, but Meibrys Viloria put a base hit through the middle to score two runs and give the Royals a 2-0 lead.
After that, Rodriguez pitched solidly and only allowed a single in each of the next two innings. Still, the pitches had caught up to him and he was up to 101 pitches at that point. We’ve seen Cora push him with similar pitch counts at other points in the year, but not this time. Rodriguez was done after five having allowed the two runs on seven hits and three walks with just one strikeout.
On the other side, the Red Sox offense got off to another poor start against a starter they should be able to hit. After being shut down by Jakob Junis on Tuesday, Glenn Sparkman was keeping them off the scoreboard in the first few innings of this game. Boston managed a leadoff baserunner in each of the first three innings, but none of them advanced beyond first base.
In the fourth, trailing 2-0 at this point, they finally snapped out of their funk and got a big swing. First, though, they got a leadoff single from Xander Bogaerts. This one would not be wasted, as J.D. Martinez got a hanging slider right in his sweep spot of the strike zone and sent it way out to left-center field. Just like that, this game was all tied up.
Boston didn’t waste any time grabbing a lead, either, as they ralled again in the fifth. This was the first inning of the game they didn’t get a leadoff baserunner, but Mookie Betts smacked a one-out single and Rafael Devers followed it up with a walk. After that, Bogaerts hit a huge double down the third base line, and the Red Sox grabbed themselves a two-run lead.
Now, heading into the sixth, the Red Sox bullpen needed to protect a 4-2 lead with four innings to play. Darwinzon Hernandez was first up, and he got off to a scorching start striking out the first two batters he faced. He couldn’t get out of the inning cleanly, though, as Billy Hamilton jumped on a fastball for a two-run double before coming around to score on a Whit Merrifield single. Hernandez left with the lead still in hand, but it was down to one.
In the seventh, Nathan Eovaldi came on for the Sox. Things did not go well. He suffered from the same issues I discussed earlier this morning in that he was simply too hittable and his command was off. Eovaldi got a pair of strikeouts in his inning of work, but also allowed a leadoff single, threw a wild pitch and eventually gave up a second single. The second single scored a run and tied the game at four apiece.
The Red Sox failed to take the lead back in the bottom of the inning, and Eovaldi surprisingly came back out for the eighth. This time around he got the job done with rain starting to fly. The righty did allow a single but that was all and the game stayed tied at four.
After Boston’s offense once again went down without a run in the eighth, it was Brandon Workman coming on for the ninth. The righty allowed a leadoff single here and a stolen base to put the runner in scoring position with just one out. Workman came through, though, and the Red Sox headed into the bottom of the ninth with the score still tied.
With rain already in the park and expected to make a bigger dent as the night goes on, it seemed like a ninth-inning walk off was the only way to prevent a delay. Betts got things started well with a leadoff single, but they couldn’t get anything else and we were heading to extras.
Aaaaaaand, that’s it. The game was suspended at this point. We’ll see what happens as we pick up in the top of the tenth in a 2-1 count!