The trade that brought Eduardo Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller may go down as one of Boston’s best ever.
Rodriguez made his major league debut against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas on Thursday night and did not disappoint after firing 7 2/3 shutout innings, allowing only three hits while walking two and striking out seven.
The 22-year old lefty seemed in total control the entire evening, leaving Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus hit-less with two strikeouts in eight at-bats. He became the youngest Red Sox pitcher to win their Major League debut on the road since 1967.
“I dreamed about this game,” he told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe after the game. “But the game was way better.”
“The best start of my life,” he said.
Rodriguez seemed to turn on cruise control after retiring the first three batters in order in the first inning, allowing only a double to Josh Hamiltion in the second, a single to Shin-Soo Choo in the sixth and a single to Delino DeShields in the eighth.
“I never get nervous,” Rodriguez told the Globe. “I just get nervous when I throw my first pitch in the game. I get on the mound, I’m looking around and my heart is almost broke because this is what we feel the first time we get to the big leagues. After that, I did what I can do.”
After being acquired at last years trade deadline, the then 21-year old Venezuela native was assigned to the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, where he went 3-1 in six starts with a 0.96 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 39 strikeouts compared to only eight walks.
Rodriguez’s final start for Portland came in the third game of the Eastern Division Championship Series against the Binghamton Mets, where he allowed two earned runs on three hits, two walks and six strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings as part of the Sea Dogs’ 6-3 victory at Hadlock Field.
The Baltimore Orioles traded Rodriguez to Boston in the hopes that Andrew Miller would solidify their bullpen for a World Series run, but after being swept by the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series, the trade now looks like one Baltimore’s front office ultimately regrets.
“I offered about 50 other pitchers before him,” Baltimore’s GM Dan Duquette told the Boston Herald back in May. “It was required that we give up Rodriguez for Andrew Miller. We had to take a shot.”
“We have some other pitching depth – but it was painful to trade Eduardo Rodriguez,” he said. “It would have been less painful if we had won the pennant, obviously. It was a good trade for the Red Sox.”
The original plan was to have Rodriguez make one spot start in the midst of a long stretch of consecutive games for the Red Sox before returning to Triple-A Pawtucket, but the young southpaw was so impressive Boston will give him another start when the Red Sox take on the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
“He was very good,” manager John Farrell told the Boston Globe on Friday. “He pitched very much at ease [Thursday] night and was very impressive.”
Rodriguez went 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA, 44 strikeouts and seven walks over 48.1 innings for the PawSox before being called up to the majors.