Hanley Ramirez has helped the Red Sox remain in the American League East conversation.</p>
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It wasn’t the greatest of Eduardo Rodriguez’s first eight starts in the majors, but even with the average performance he was still able to keep the powerful Astros offense in check.

Eduardo Rodriguez has now allowed one earned run or less in six of his eight major league starts. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez has now allowed one earned run or less in six of his eight major league starts. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

It wasn’t the greatest of Eduardo Rodriguez’s first eight starts in the majors, but even with the average performance he was still able to keep the powerful Astros offense in check.

While he needed 101 pitches to get through five innings, struggling with his command at times, the left-handed rookie allowed only one run on six hits while walking two and striking out a career-high eight batters taking a no-decision in the Red Sox‘ 5-4 win.

With Sunday being his eighth start, going 4-2 with a 3.69 ERA in those starts, he’s starting to feel more comfortable being in the big leagues.

“Yeah, I feel way better now here with everybody,” the soft-spoken Rodriguez said. “They try to teach me like how to pitch, all the starting pitchers try to help me a lot, so that’s what I feel right now.”

With allowing only one run, Rodriguez became the first Red Sox player in the live ball era (since 1920) to allow one run or less in six of his first eight starts. He’s also the first left-handed pitcher in the live ball era to record seven or more strikeouts and allow one run or less four times over his first 18 starts.

Catching Rodriguez for the first time in a game, Ryan Hanigan came away very impressed.

“I got a chance to catch a couple bullpens when I was coming back and he was just on point. Then [today] it was awesome,” he said. “When he was missing, he was just missing, so his pitch count got a little high by the fifth. His command, his execution, just his stuff in general is pretty impressive for a guy his age, for sure.”

“It’s fun,” Hanigan added. “His stuff is explosive. When he shakes, I always have a lot of confidence in him because he just knows what he’s doing out there. He can read swings, he can read hitters timing. He can do different things with his pitches. It’s fun to catch him, for sure.”

Rodriguez liked working with Hanigan for the first time as well.

“It was pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “He called the right pitches — what I wanted to throw, when I wanted to throw. He was pretty good behind home plate with me.”

The left-handed also said he’s put the tipping pitches stuff behind him.

“I can’t control that now, don’t tip pitches anymore,” he said.

With allowing now allowing one earned run or less in six of his eight starts, Rodriguez has every right feel like a big leaguer.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Hanley Ramirez now has five home runs in the seven games he's DH'd this year. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez now has five home runs in the seven games he’s DH’d this year. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

The odds may have been stacked against Hanley Ramirez in the seventh inning — down 1-2 in the count and in midst of an 0-for-9 slump facing Astros reliever Tony Sipp with a runner on first and the Red Sox trailing 4-3.

But, with one hand, he lined a changeup that just cleared the Green Monster, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 lead and proved to be the game-winner, as the Red Sox earned a series win over the Astros.

“I saw a couple changeups and I just figured he was going to throw another one,” Ramirez said. “I tried to wait on it but like I said I put a good follow through.”

“I think it just tells you how strong he is,” manager John Farrell added. “Once he gets the barrel of the bat, even the first at-bat in this series, he drives the ball out of the ballpark on Friday night. Still, when he’s able to make solid contact, he’s got the ability to drive the ball out of any park. But even if he is fooled, because his plate coverage is so good, he’s able to give us a lead and a big one at that.”

Ramirez is now batting .367 in 44 career games against the Astros, the highest active mark against the franchise (minimum 150 plate appearances). Six of Ramirez’s 18 homers this season have given the Red Sox the lead in the game at the time.

What may go unnoticed is in the at-bat prior to the home run, David Ortiz forced Sipp to throw 11 pitches, before he was able to work a walk. Ramirez said that played a role in his homer.

“That’s everything right there,” he said. “He put up a good at-bat and got on first so it’s up to me now.”

With Mike Napoli struggling, Ortiz played first base in a non-interleague game for the first time since August 5, 2006. With that, Ramirez served as the designated hitter, a position he’s thrived in this season. Over the seven games he’s DH’d this season, he’s batting .333 with five home runs and 10 RBIs.

Even though he’s been successful in that role, don’t expect it to happen more often.

“There are guys that sometimes have a difficulty not being in on the defensive side of the game and yet being able to focus and prepare for the at-bats,” Farrell said. “But clearly Hanley has done that very well, the days that he has been DH for us. So again, I don’t see many at-bats at the DH slot going forward for him.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

David Ortiz has built his reputation on putting fear in opposing pitchers with his clutch power hitting late in games.

But with one out and none on and the Astros leading 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, fear was not on the mind of lefty Tony Sipp, who was brought in by Houston manager A.J. Hinch to face Ortiz.

David Ortiz has built his reputation on putting fear in opposing pitchers with his clutch power hitting late in games.

But with one out and none on and the Astros leading 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, fear was not on the mind of lefty Tony Sipp, who was brought in by Houston manager A.J. Hinch to face Ortiz.

“I got ahead. I was just trying to go right at him, do anything but walk him,” Sipp said. “I got the 1-2 slider and it started backing up on me. I couldn’t get the one that was sharp that looked like a strike and then [would] fade out of the strike zone. That’s why he kept fouling off and he was a little disappointed because he was missing some of my mistakes.

“Right there at the end, I threw a ball that was a little bit too low and walked him. That was the last thing I wanted to do, was walk him. He’s not hitting the best right now so I wanted to at least make him put it in play. If he’s swinging the bat well, then it’s not a bad thing to do, to walk him. But right now, he’s not the same Big Papi.”

Ortiz is hitting just .228 this season, but still with 14 homers and 41 RBIs, and an OPS of .744.

Sipp’s frustration was compounded when he gave up the go-ahead and game-winning home run on a splitter to Hanley Ramirez.

“It was down but just not out [outside] like I wanted,” Sipp said. “He put the swing that I want him to put on it but he caught it out front and had enough pop to get it over the wall. I think that’s just how it goes. Sometimes they’ll hit a good pitch. He’s pretty good and caught a good pitch. Location wasn’t bad, just down the middle.”

If Sipp watched Ortiz circle the bases, he could plainly see Ortiz pumping his fist around second base, adding more salt to the wound.

“I felt like I was throwing the ball well,” Sipp said. “I got ahead of both Big Papi and Hanley but I just couldn’t put them away.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Joe & Dave talked to the Red Sox slugger, whose 7th-inning homer took the lead back for good in the win over the Astros at Fenway.

[0:00:43] ... much and obviously if possible. I kind of sleeping in my Buffalo Grove village life that was the pitch but you know ought to must have come on you gotta you gotta you gotta get to ...
[0:01:26] ... win you know pounding on the fact that they you know brook Henson's company become aware shoot it. And annoyances is going the got everybody you know her for the team. Nearly your biggest home run of the season won't have soon the Red Sox great job did today I think you're must how are exaggerations. ...




Joe & Dave talked to the Red Sox slugger, whose 7th-inning homer took the lead back for good in the win over the Astros at Fenway.

[0:00:43] ... much and obviously if possible. I kind of sleeping in my Buffalo Grove village life that was the pitch but you know what to must have come by you gotta you gotta you gotta get to ...
[0:01:35] ... your biggest home run of the season don't have to sit the Red Sox great job did today and think you're must how are exaggerations. ...




Hanley Ramirez stepped to the plate with the Red Sox trailing 4-3 and a runner on first in the seventh inning in the midst of an 0-for-9 skid, but with as good of a hitter as he is, that didn’t matter one bit.

Hanley Ramirez's 18th homer of the season gave the Red Sox a 5-4, comeback win over the Astros. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez‘s 18th homer of the season gave the Red Sox a 5-4, comeback win over the Astros. (Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez stepped to the plate with the Red Sox trailing 4-3 and a runner on first in the seventh inning in the midst of an 0-for-9 skid, but with as good of a hitter as he is, that didn’t matter one bit.

The slugger lined a two-run homer into the Monster seats, proving to be the difference in the Red Sox’ 5-4, come-from-behind win over the Astros.

They took 2-of-3 in the series and have won three straight series for the first time since the first three of the season. Overall, the Red Sox have won four of their last five series’ — all coming against teams with records over .500.

The seventh inning homer was Ramirez’s 18th home run of the season and he has five homers over his last 10 games.

Junichi Tazawa (win) tossed a scoreless eighth inning and Koji Uehara pitched the ninth, earning his 19th save, working around a Brock Holt error to open the inning.

Things didn’t look good for the Red Sox before Ramirez’s homer, as they blew a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning.

Leading 3-1, reliever Alexi Ogando allowed back-to-back home runs into the Monster seats. With two outs in the inning, 20-year-old phenom Carlos Correa lined a shot over the Monster for a two-run homer to tie the game at three and then the very next batter, Evan Gattis, hit one to almost the exact same spot giving the Astros a 4-3 lead.

This all came after the bottom of the sixth when the Red Sox scored two runs to take a 3-1 lead at the time.

With the game tied at one in the sixth inning, the Red Sox took advantage of some spotty Astros defense. Ramirez reached on an error to open the frame and came around to score on Pablo Sandoval’s double to left, which was bobbled by left fielder Evan Gattis, allowing Ramirez to score from first.

Then with two outs, Ryan Hanigan slapped a RBI single to right, scoring Sandoval and giving the Red Sox a 3-1 lead.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t have his best stuff — needing 101 pitches to get through five innings, but he only allowed one run. The rookie left-hander went five innings, allowing one run on six hits, while walking one and striking out eight. The eight strikeouts were a career-high.

Rodriguez was able to get out of couple jams, as he stranded a runner at third base to end the second and recorded back-to-back strikeouts with a runner at second to end the fifth. He became the first pitcher since at least 1914 to allow one or no runs in at least six of his first eight major league outings, all starts.

The Red Sox got their first run in the second inning on a Hanigan RBI single, which plated Sandoval who had singled earlier in the inning.

Here’s what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Sandoval was 3-for-4 with two runs scored to pace the offense. He came into the game 0 for his last six.

— Mookie Betts went 1-for-3 with two walks to extend his hit streak to seven games. In that span he’s hitting .419.

— Hanigan went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. He’s now reached base safely in 18 of his 20 starts this season. It was his first three-hit game since April 19, 2014 against the Yankees.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— Ogando’s two home runs allowed snapped a scoreless streak that had reached 15 1/3 innings. He’s allowed 14 runs this season, 11 coming off homers.

David Ortiz, playing first base, went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable