|Rodriguez, Red Sox want to feel at home vs. Jays|
When the star pitcher behind you in the rotation declares himself "a liability," is there any extra pressure to turn in a quality outing on the mound?
This is the situation Eduardo Rodriguez finds himself in. The left-hander will get the nod for the Boston Red Sox as they host the Toronto Blue Jays for the third contest of a four-game set Wednesday.
Rodriguez's outing will be followed Thursday by Chris Sale's first start since the one-time automatic ace was roughed up for five runs for a third straight performance by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. That kicked off a stretch of three losses in four games for the Red Sox, who have split the first two games of the series with the Blue Jays.
Rodriguez (10-4, 4.43 ERA) will be opposed by Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez (3-13, 6.22).
The good news for Rodriguez is that he's coming off one of his best starts of the year, in which he struck out 10 Dodgers and allowed just one run over seven innings. He's given up two runs in 12 innings this month and hasn't lost in six starts since June 9.
Rodriguez faced Toronto back in May and was tagged for six runs in five innings. Against the Blue Jays lifetime, he is 3-4 with a 4.80 ERA in 13 games (12 starts).
The Jays are riding high off a 10-4 rout Tuesday after falling 10-8 in the series opener. Facing Andrew Cashner in his Red Sox debut, Toronto broke a 4-4 tie on a Justin Smoak home run in the sixth inning and went on to score four runs in the ninth to make it a laugher.
Prior to this series, the Blue Jays had scored two runs or less five times in a six-game stretch. They now have 27 hits over their last two games.
Cashner's rough debut was less than ideal for Boston, though the bigger issue remains a bullpen that continues to allow big innings late. Toronto scored four runs in the eighth inning to tighten Monday's contest before exploding in the ninth Tuesday.
The Red Sox dropped to a measly 22-25 at home this season.
"Guys that are not having great years are putting good at-bats against us," manager Alex Cora said. "It's surprising. It seems like we don't execute, and when we don't, they take advantage of it.
"We have to make adjustments with them. It's something that has to start tomorrow, because the at-bats are great since Day 1."
Plenty of hitters have had great at-bats against Sanchez this year. The former Cy Young contender has lost each of his last nine starts and 12 straight decisions, with an 8.05 ERA since the start of May.
"I haven't pitched really healthy in two years, so it's one of those things (where) if my body feels good, I'm going to go out there and compete," said Sanchez, who has battled blister issues in recent years. "I know all that other stuff will come, and that's what's happening."
His last time out against the Red Sox, Sanchez gave up two runs over six innings in a no-decision May 22. He is 4-4 with a 3.84 ERA in 21 career games (13 starts) versus Boston.
--Field Level Media