After Sunday's game in Anaheim, a lot of questions were at least beginning to be answered by the Boston Red Sox. Yes, they could get solid pitching performances out of their rotation guys. Yes, they were able to win close games, Yes, they had the bullpen help to compete in tightly contested match-ups.
Well, those same exact answers were solidified last night, as the Red Sox were able to take the first game of a four-game set against the Seattle Mariners by a final score of 2-1. Eduardo Rodriguez had his best start of the season, as he was able to cruise through the first six innings unscathed. However, as E-Rod's pitch count approached 100, it was noticeable that the 23-year-old lefty was drained and needed to come out of this game. On the day, E-Rod would finish throwing 6.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits, while striking out six. I saw Rodriguez mix his pitches extremely well, while also keeping that glove hand up, which had a tendency to lower when he was about to throw a change-up.
Unfortunately, James Paxton of Seattle was just as dominant, if not more so than Rodriguez. Paxton was blowing hitters away with a fastball that was approaching 100 MPH, and it seems as if the young left-hander has finally figured things out. Like Rodriguez, Paxton was cruising through seven innings, but ran into trouble in the eighth, allowing a home run to Aaron Hill. This was an extremely nice response by the Red Sox, who could have easily folded after relinquishing the lead.
After bullpen help from Robbie Ross Jr. and Junichi Tazawa, Mookie Betts was able to launch his 22nd home run of the season and give the Red Sox the lead. From there, Craig Kimbrel made his return after knee surgery three weeks ago. While Sandy Leon displayed some shaky defense behind the plate, Kimbrel was able to strike out two batters and secure the win for Boston. Kimbrel also displayed his confidence in his surgically repaired knee, as he had to make a nice play to his left on a swinging bunt to start the ninth inning.
In the middle of this game, it was leaked, or maybe announced, that the Red Sox would be recalling outfielder Andrew Benintendi from Double-A Portland to provide some depth in left field. Benintendi, who is the #2 ranked prospect in the Red Sox farm system and the #7 or #9 overall prospect in all of baseball, depending on who you read, is going to join the team today and be available off the bench. Dave Dombrowski expressed his desire to not rush Benintendi into the game tonight, as he wants the youngster to get his feet underneath him in his first experience as a big leaguer. It is expected that he will start tomorrow night for the third game of this four-game set.
Next up, the Red Sox will send David Price to the mound, who will be looking to build off his dominant performance against the Anaheim Angels last time out. Check back in for a full game preview.