By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — With the Red Sox now in the World Series, their lone ALDS loss to the Yankees might seem like ancient history.
You might recall, though, that Eduardo Rodriguez was very late in covering first on what should have been an Aaron Judge groundout, and the lack of hustle contributed to a three-run seventh inning for the Yankees — an inning which put the game out of reach for Boston.
It was a whole thing. Rodriguez said he slipped off the mound; he didn’t. Alex Cora told him he needs to be more accountable. The Red Sox moved on, and Rodriguez has been reliable ever since.
Reliable, that is, on the mound. On Saturday night in Game 5, we learned he wasn’t exactly reliable on the basepaths.
Granted, he has no experience out there, but after getting plunked on the right forearm by a Rich Hill fastball to lead off the top of the third (in at-bat where Rodriguez accidentally chucked his bat to the Boston dugout), Rodriguez found himself on first base when Mookie Betts sent a dribbler down the third base line. It was terrible contact, surely weak enough to at least advance the runner from first base to second base.
The problem for the Red Sox was that the runner was named Eduardo Rodriguez, and, well, the term “runner” might not be an appropriate descriptor for what was taking place.
Rodriguez’s movement could best be described as power-walking, so third baseman Justin Turner fired to second base to easily retire the pitcher on the force out.
Rodriguez, 25, had never once reached base before Saturday night, so he clearly lacked any and all experience.
Still, he’s spent his whole life on a baseball field, and he knows that players have to run from one base to the next. But ever since he hurt his ankle covering first base in July, he’s moved his body with extreme tentativeness. That showed up in an almost comical way in Game 4.
After the fielder’s choice by Betts, Andrew Benintendi popped out and Steve Pearce flew out to end the frame, keeping the game tied at 0-0 heading into the bottom half of the third.