BOSTON — Eduardo Rodriguez came into last night’s game with a 9-4 record, boasting the most wins of any Red Sox starter.
There was a bit of fool’s gold there though.
The young lefty’s ERA sat at 4.65, and the Red Sox had averaged 7.56 runs of support in his start. That wasn’t just the most on their staff. That was the most run support for any pitcher in the major leagues.
Rodriguez certainly earned the win on Friday night though, holding the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball’s best team, to one run in seven innings of work. The 8-1 win reflected one of the best starts of his career.
Here are five takes from a World Series rematch:
1. Atta boy, E-Rod
Simply put, Rodriguez was masterful.
Aided by a filthy changeup, the lefty struck out 10 Dodgers and elicited 22 swings and misses, the most of any start in his career. He scattered five hits over his seven innings of work, and the lone blemish was a solo shot in the second inning.
Against a dominant Los Angeles lineup, Rodriguez elevated his game. When he departed the score was still 3-1; it was far tighter than the final indicated.
2. Devers keeps raking
Facing a severe shift, Rafael Devers tried to bunt for a single in the first inning, but the ball rolled foul.
On the next pitch he found a more creative way to beat the shift; blasting an opposite-field home run into the Monster Seats. Coupled with an RBI double in the sixth inning, the third baseman is picking up right where he left off before the All-Star break.
3. Pick your poison
With two extra-base hits on Devers’ resume already, the Dodgers decided to intentionally walk him in the seventh to get to Xander Bogaerts.
The shortstop made them pay, hitting a three-run homer that squeaked over the Monster. Devers and Bogaerts are a lethal two-three combo on Alex Cora’s lineup card right now.
4. Vazqy goes deep again
Was Christian Vazquez a Home Run Derby snub?
Kidding aside, the catcher blasted his 15th of the season in the second inning, a solo shot to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. With the homer, Vazquez tripled his previous career high of five. There are still 71 games to play.
5. Taylor posts another zero
Josh Taylor’s impressive July rolled on, as he diced through the heart of the Dodgers order with a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 10 North American outings. The lefty didn’t escape the London series unscathed, but what pitcher actually did?
Chris Mason is a Red Sox beat writer for the Eagle-Tribune and CNHI Sports Boston. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter at @ByChrisMason