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Fake Sox Game 15: A tough day for Eduardo Rodriguez

The Red Sox fall behind early and can’t come back.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The following simulation and images are courtesy of Out of the Park Baseball 21

Our Fake Sox have been playing good baseball of late and are most recently coming off of a nice series-opening win out west in Seattle where J.D. Martinez tied it with a three-run shot in the eighth before Christian Vázquez hit a go-ahead solo shot in the ninth. They were looking to make it two in a row here and three in a row overall on Friday with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound.

Rodriguez, like Matt Hall and Collin McHugh, was pitching on short rest due to a terrible outing from Nathan Eovaldi earlier in the week that threw the rotation out of whack. It was clear right from the beginning that Rodriguez did not have it and the offense was going to need to step up. Boston did get runners on the corners with two outs in the top half of the first, but they couldn’t get a run across.

Then, in the bottom of the inning Seattle jumped out quickly. Daniel Vogelbach got the rally started with a one-out double, and then after getting a big second out Rodriguez issued a two-out walk to Shed Smith. That would turn out to be a killer. Kyle Seager was up next and he launched the third pitch he saw out to right field for a three-run shot. Just like that, the Mariners had a 3-0 lead.

Rodriguez worked around another one-out double in the second, but the third wouldn’t go as smoothly. Vogelbach was leading off this time, and instead of a double he took it another step further by leaving the yard for a solo homer, pushing Seattle’s lead up to four. With one out, Rodriguez then issued another walk to Smith and then Seager did the same thing again. It was one RBI fewer, but it was another long ball for the Mariners third baseman and the Mariners jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead.

That would do it for Rodriguez, too. The Red Sox pitching staff has been trying to catch up since the aforementioned Eovaldi outing, and Rodriguez only going 2 13 innings didn’t help matters. Brandon Workman came on and got two strikeouts to end the inning.

To their credit, the Red Sox bullpen as a collective did do very well in relief of Rodriguez, though a lot of pitchers were needed. Workman got two more outs before giving way to Marcus Walden, who tossed a scoreless inning of work. Colten Brewer was next and he recorded two outs before Darwinzon Hernandez came on for four. Josh Taylor finished it off with four outs of his own, and none of the relievers allowed a run.

Still, it was a six-run deficit for the offense to make up and the first few innings didn’t inspire a ton of confidence. Things looked good in the fourth when Xander Bogaerts led off with a walk before Alex Verdugo smacked a base hit into right field, but Bogaerts was gunned down trying for third and that helped lead to a scoreless frame.

The fifth was really the best chance for the Red Sox. Boston got three straight singles right off the bat to bring up Jackie Bradley Jr., their hottest hitter, with the bases full and nobody out. He didn’t have a big swing, but he did draw ball four to bring one run home and keep the bases full with no outs for the middle of the order. Down by five, this was the chance for the Red Sox to at least come within a run or two if not tie it up completely. Instead, J.D. Martinez struck out, Bogaerts grounded into a fielder’s choice that cut down the runner trying to score from third and Verdugo struck out. They got a run, but the failure to get more on top of it basically ended the game right then and there. Boston wouldn’t get a runner beyond first the rest of the game, and in fact didn’t send more than three batters to the plate in any of the last four innings.

So, the Fake Sox fall to 9-6 on the young season, remaining a half-game ahead of the Yankees. They also made an addition to the roster after the game, signing former Reds reliever Kevin Shackleford to a one-year deal worth $790,000. Darwinzon Hernandez was sent back down to Pawtucket.

Down on the farm, C.J. Chatham is for some reason in Portland and he had a five-hit day and Jeter Downs hit two homers for the Sea Dogs as well. For some reason Jay Groome is in Portland as well. He allowed seven runs in one inning and was immediately sent down to Salem. In Greenville, Aldo Ramirez tossed six scoreless innings.