Red Sox

5 takeaways as Red Sox beat Tigers, snap five-game skid behind Eduardo Rodriguez’s strong start

The Red Sox remained a game behind the Rays in the AL East.

Red Sox Tigers
The Red Sox took on the Tigers on Wednesday. Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

The Red Sox got a win they badly needed on Wednesday, bouncing back from Tuesday’s loss to beat the Tigers 4-1 and snap a five-game skid that saw them drop out of first place in the AL East.

Here are the takeaways.

The big picture

J.D. Martinez opened the scoring with a solo homer in the second inning. In the fifth, Hernández ripped a two-run shot.

Immediately after Hernández, Jarren Duran hit his second career homer.

“Glad the kid could finally get his first Tunnel Time ride,” Hernández said, referencing the cart ride Red Sox players receive after they hit a home run. “First homer was in Buffalo, and we didn’t have a Tunnel Time cart there. So, glad he was finally able to get it out of the way.”

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The Tigers got a run back in seventh when Jonathan Schoop homered off Josh Taylor.

Star of the game

Eduardo Rodriguez – 5.0 innings pitched, 10 strikeouts, four walks, no runs allowed, two hits

Rodriguez pitched one inning on July 23 before exiting the game with migraine symptoms, and he started in the Red Sox’s embarrassing 13-1 loss to the Blue Jays on July 30.

Wednesday’s performance — despite the walks — was a return to his pre-migraine form.

“Before those two, he was really good,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We felt like stuff-wise, he was where he was supposed to be. He was making adjustments throughout games. Today he recognized a few things against them and went after them.”

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Rodriguez — who missed the 2020 season dealing with a case of COVID-19 and ensuing myocarditis — won his first five games of the season, but he said he never felt quite right. When he started feeling better, he started struggling.

“After [those five starts], I’ve been feeling great and everything, just making a lot of mistakes,” Rodriguez said.

The Red Sox are hopeful this version of Rodriguez is here to stay.

“He understands how important he is not only for the rotation, but for the whole team,” Cora said. “It’s good to see him go out there and compete the way he did tonight, and hopefully it’s the beginning of something great.”

What it means

The Red Sox got a win they needed for their own morale, but also to keep themselves afloat in the standings — the Rays, Yankees, and Blue Jays all won as well.

Takeaways

1. On Tuesday, Alex Cora made it clear that while Garrett Richards’s performance on the mound wasn’t particularly inspiring, the offense provided little support.

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Richards would have loved a little bit of the power the Red Sox exhibited on Wednesday. The Red Sox’s offense still didn’t explode, but they scored four runs which Cora noted after the game is a magic number: When the Red Sox score four or more runs, they are 56-8.

“It’s not that we’re living with our offense, but we know if we score four or five runs, it’s good for us,” Cora said.

2. Duran’s homer was a bright spot for the Red Sox — the 24-year-old has batted .208/.311/.519 since his call-up from Worcester.

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“Obviously it’s not easy at this level,” Cora said. “You get called up, and the whole world feels like he was going to come here and be the savior. That’s not the case. We want him to do his part. There’s up and downs, but you see what he can do. It’s eye-opening.”

3. Cora said he texted Red Sox color commentator Jerry Remy before the game to express support. Remy announced prior to Wednesday’s game that he planned to step away from the broadcast to focus on lung cancer treatments. Remy has battled multiple occurrences of the disease.

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According to Cora, Remy’s message was simple.

“He said ‘Get ’em going, get ’em going, let’s go,'” Cora said. “So that was for him. … I know he’s a fighter, and he’s going to be fine. We’re going to fight with him.”

4. Last week in Worcester, Chris Sale told reporters enthusiastically that he was excited to ride the bus with his Triple-A teammates to Scranton for what will likely be his final tune-up as he returns from Tommy John surgery last year. Sale said he hadn’t ridden a bus in a long time.

After Wednesday’s game, Cora confirmed Sale took the bus.

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“No private jet,” Cora said with a smile.

5. Hernández appeared to scoff slightly at a question about the importance of Wednesday’s win, given the team’s recent struggles.

“I would say it’s somewhat important,” he said. “Whenever you’re playing not so great, it’s nice to get a W. It’s nice.”

Asked to elaborate, Hernández — who tripled in addition to his homer in a 2-for-4 evening — noted that the Red Sox have been saying all year that they are a good team.

“We’re going to go through rough stretches, and that’s what happens when you play 162 games,” Hernández said. “You can’t let a five-game skid decide what a team is all about.

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“We’re not going to lose every game from here to Game 162. Now it’s a matter of keeping things on course and winning some ball games.”

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