Well, that was easy. The Red Sox dominated in all facets of the game on Friday out in San Diego. The offense jumped all over Chris Paddack in the early innings and dropped eleven runs total led by a seven-RBI outburst from J.D. Martinez. Eduardo Rodriguez was phenomenal on the mound, getting through seven relatively easy innings with the help of four double plays. Speaking of which, the defense had a big day behind their pitcher as well. This is one of, if not the, best all-around performances of the year.
The Red Sox, who started a series out in San Diego on Friday, had been uncharacteristically subpar in interleague play so far this year. Prior to the beginning of this three-game set, the team was just 3-7 against National League opponents in 2019, just another example of how bizarre this season has been. They bucked that trend for one night at least on Friday, playing a great game all around. The offense exploded early against a very good pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez looked great on the mound and he got plenty of help from the defense behind him. It was a nice change of pace compared to other interleague matchups, not to mention the season as a whole.
We’ll start with the offense, though, because as I said they got to work early and really put this game in their back pocket almost as quickly as they began. As noted on the broadcast a few times, Boston is among the best offense in the league against fastballs and this is the pitch on which Chris Paddack most heavily leans on. Their success against the offering was readily apparent when Mookie Betts led off the game with a double before Rafael Devers smacked a single. J.D. Martinez would eventually come up with those two on and one out, and the slugger smashed a three-run shot out to the power alley in left field. Just like that, it was a first-inning 3-0 lead.
They kept it going in the second, too, once again getting the first two on. This time it was Mitch Moreland drawing a walk and Brock Holt singling, putting a pair on for Eduardo Rodriguez. The pitcher had a couple pitches where he was not bunting, but he eventually go a sacrifice down with two strikes and put a pair in scoring position with one out. Betts got one of the runs home on a sacrifice fly out to left field before Devers got his second hit of the day. This time it was an RBI double, and the Red Sox were up 5-0. They’d get one more on a Xander Bogaerts double, and this game was already turning into a blowout.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez was doing his job and making sure the Red Sox offense could really run away with this one. Perhaps even more importantly, given that Nathan Eovaldi starts on Saturday and likely Brian Johnson on Sunday, he gave the team some innings. After his team handed him a 3-0 lead in the top half of the first, Rodriguez got a big double play and only needed to face three batters in the bottom half. He’d then come back for the second and once again gave up a single, but once again he got a double play and only faced three batters for a second consecutive inning.
He continued to face the minimum through three with a more conventional 1-2-3 inning in the third before he finally needed more than three batters in the fourth. There, he gave up a walk and a single to start the inning, but thanks to his third double play of the evening he got through the inning without allowing a run and facing only four batters.
Over the next two innings, Rodriguez really settled down, tossing a 1-2-3 in the fifth and allowing only a single with two strikeouts mixed in in the sixth. The defense also stepped up with a couple of big plays in that fifth, including a great diving play up the middle from Brock Holt at second base to finish off the inning. He then got yet another inning-ending double play to get through seven with just 93 pitches, and that would mark the end of his night.
On the other side, the Red Sox offense didn’t stop at the 6-0 lead. They would get another run in the fourth thanks to another RBI from Martinez before really piling on in the sixth. There, Rodriguez actually led the inning off by reaching on an error, which gave us this gem of a lead off first base. He would eventually come around to score on a base hit from Bogaerts, and then Martinez came back up with two on and one out. For the second time of the night, he launched a three-run shot. That gave Boston an 11-0 lead, with seven of the runs being driven in by Martinez. Decent night.
Josh Smith would get the call out of the bullpen for the eighth, and he tossed an easy 1-2-3 inning there. He did get hit by a line drive on the last out of the inning. Despite that, he stayed in for the ninth. That inning was another scoreless one for the righty to end a basically perfect night for the Sox.
The Red Sox will look to carry this momentum into Saturday night’s game, the second of this series in San Diego. Boston will send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound to take on Dinselson Lamet. First pitch is scheduled for 8:40 PM ET.