BOSTON (CBS) – Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez gave the Red Sox exactly what they needed Thursday night in Texas.

Coming off a series sweep to start a seven-game road trip, Boston needed a stopper, and that’s what he gave them. Rodriguez was lights out against the Rangers, tossing 7.2 shutout innings with seven strikeouts while allowing just three hits and two walks.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan is a highly touted prospect, and he proved why last night in what was one of the best debuts for a starting pitcher in team history:

This got me thinking, where does this rank among some of Boston sports’ most notable debuts?

I decided to limit the scope of this investigation to the last five years, roughly the same length of time that the Sports Hub has been on the air.

Rodriguez was one, and here are the other four I came up with — in no particular order. I’m curious to hear from you which ones (if any) I left out.

Nathan Horton

The former Bruins winger scored two goals for Boston in a 5-2 season-opening loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in Prague back in 2010, a season in which the B’s would go on to win their first Stanley Cup in nearly four decades.

Boston split with Phoenix in that two-game weekend series in the Czech Republic, and Horton was a big reason why; he had four points, including three goals and one assist.

Chandler Jones + Dont’a Hightower

The Patriots drafted a pair of first round picks in 2012, Chandler Jones (21st overall) and Dont’a Hightower (25th overall), and the two rookies made their presence felt in the regular season opener in Tennessee.

Early in the second quarter, defensive end Chandler Jones came around the edge and strip-sacked Titans quarterback Jake Locker, and Dont’a Hightower did the rest. The former Alabama product scooped-and-scored the loose ball, giving the Pats a two-score lead. New England would go on to win the game 34-13.

Danny Amendola

(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Amendola had some big shoes to fill when he was signed by the Patriots to replace Wes Welker.

The slot receiver seemed determine to prove to the New England fans that he could stay healthy, and in Week 1 of the 2013 season he practically willed the Patriots to victory in a hostile environment in Buffalo.

Amendola had 10 catches for 104 yards, and it was revealed after the game that he suffered a complete tear in his groin during the contest. In critical situations on third down, Tom Brady looked to Amendola to make some big catches, and he most certainly did.

Brady threw to Amendola eight times on third down, completing all but one of them and picking up seven first downs.

The injury seemed to hobble him for the rest of the 2013 season, but the grit he possesses was evident in his Patriots debut, a game in which they won 23-21.

Daniel Nava

On June 12, 2010 with the bases loaded at home against the Phillies, Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava came up to bat in the second inning and delivered a grand slam blast over the right field wall on the first pitch.

In his first major league game in his first major league at-bat, Nava endeared himself to the Fenway faithful with that round tripper. Prior to Nava, the last Red Sox player to hit a home run in his major league at-bat was Eddie Pellagrini in 1946.

Read more from Andrew Celani by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @CelaniSays!


 

On Friday morning, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand began their show talking about Eduardo Rodriguez’s impressive debut.

Listen below:

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