Eduardo Rodriguez will look to pick up where Chris Sale left off when the Boston Red Sox host the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of a three-game series Sunday afternoon.
Sale struck out eight over five innings of two-run ball in the Red Sox’s 16-2 rout of the Orioles. It was Sale’s first start since Aug. 13, 2019 after missing just over two years while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
“We were the only team that was gonna add Chris Sale. He’s gonna help us win a lot of ballgames,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “He’s gonna compete, and in between starts he’s going to be a great teammate, a great leader. He’s gonna help these guys to keep getting better.”
Baltimore’s woes continued as it entered its second double-digit losing streak of the season at 10 games. The last-place Orioles have been outscored 98-32 during their current league-worst skid.
“Our execution isn’t real good on the mound right now for some guys, and I think that our at-bats can get a little bit out of control,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’ve just got to get better in all areas. We’re a long ways away.”
Rodriguez (8-6, 5.24 ERA) usually rises to the occasion when facing his former team. The one-time Orioles prospect has 11 wins — his most against any single opponent — and five losses in 21 career games (19 starts) against them while pitching to a 3.28 ERA and striking out 120.
The 28-year-old left-hander lived up to the billing in his two prior starts against Baltimore this season. He allowed three runs on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in a 7-3 win over the Orioles in his season debut on April 8.
On May 7, Rodriguez helped pitch Boston to a 6-2 win at Baltimore after throwing five innings of one-run ball while allowing seven hits, walking three and striking out a pair.
Rodriguez turned in two of his best starts in his last two outings against Tampa Bay last Tuesday and at Detroit on Aug. 4. Over his last 10 innings, Rodriguez has allowed two runs on six hits with 18 strikeouts over 10 1/3 innings.
Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini has fared well against Rodriguez, hitting .306 (11 for 36) with two home runs and four RBIs against him.
Baltimore will counter with left-hander Keegan Akin (0-6, 8.23) on the mound as he attempts to break into the win column.
Akin is winless in his last 18 appearances — including 11 starts — and has not picked up a ‘W’ since striking out a career-high nine over five scoreless innings in a 5-1 victory against Atlanta last Sept. 16 as a rookie.
The 26-year-old has been a mixed bag in his recent outings. Akin allowed six runs on seven hits in a three-inning loss against Detroit on Tuesday, but tossed 3 1/3 combined scoreless innings of relief in two appearances before.
Akin has faced the Red Sox once before in his career. He was charged with four runs (two earned) on eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts in an 8-3 loss at Boston last Sept. 22 in his second-to-last start of 2020.
–Field Level Media