Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t have to wait long to face his former teammates.
The Detroit Tigers left-hander is scheduled to start the finale of a three-game series against the visiting Boston Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon.
Rodriguez wore a Red Sox uniform from 2015-21. He signed a five-year, $77 million contract with the Tigers as a free agent during the offseason.
“It’s something that no matter what the results are, you just want to have a good game, pitch good and win the game,” he said. “All in all, I’m going to enjoy having the opportunity to face my old teammates.”
Rodriguez had a 64-39 record in 159 career appearances (153 starts) with Boston. He was a 19-game winner in 2019. He sat out the 2020 campaign due to a bout with COVID-19 and myocarditis.
Last season, he finished 13-8 with a 4.74 ERA.
“Last year, he started off well numbers wise but stuff-wise, he wasn’t there,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “Then it was the other way around. He had his ups and downs throughout the season but he did an amazing job. He got his dream come true, right? Get that big money and support his family.
“Obviously, he probably would have loved to stay here but it just didn’t work out. We’re very proud of him but tomorrow, we’ve got to kick his (butt).”
Rodriguez (0-0, 6.75 ERA) will try to block out the fact that he’ll be opposing many longtime friends.
“Every time I step on the mound, it can be against my father, my mother, my brother, whoever — if somebody steps in that box against me, I’m going to strike them out. I’m going to get them out,” he said. “That’s the way I see it, that’s the way I learned it. As soon as I step between the lines, no matter who is in there, I’ve got to strike them out or get an out.”
Rodriguez started Detroit’s season opener and threw 83 pitches. He gave up three runs on four hits in four innings in a no-decision against the Chicago White Sox.
“It’s going to be weird, to be honest with you,” Cora said. “Probably the first guy I managed that we’re going to face. … Obviously he knows us, we know him. We’ve just got to make sure we put a good game plan against him and get that pitch count up, get him out and try to win a ballgame.”
A rainy forecast could delay the Rodriguez-Red Sox showdown.
Nathan Eovaldi is scheduled to start for the Red Sox. Eovaldi (0-0, 5.40) gave up three runs on five hits in five innings while striking out seven New York Yankees in his season debut. He has a 2-0 record and 3.86 ERA in four career starts against Detroit.
The Tigers won the first game of the series 3-1. The Red Sox responded with a 5-3 triumph on Tuesday behind Rafael Devers, who had three hits, two runs scored and two RBIs.
All of Devers’ hits were singles. He had 76 extra-base hits last season.
“Teams are going to attack him a certain way and he feels like he has to swing harder,” Cora said. “It’s the other way around. Just take what they give you. That’s the mark of a professional hitter.”
–Field Level Media