Only in Boston can you win five straight starts and still face criticism.
But in Eduardo Rodriguez’s case http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-connor-williams-jersey
, there’s a reason for it.
Rodriguez, a 25-year-old left-hander out of Venezuela, is 8-1 with a 3.64 ERA this season as he heads into Sunday afternoon’s start against the host Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
In those past five outings, Rodriguez has lasted more than 5 2/3 innings only once, going 6 2/3 innings on May 30 against Toronto.
He has thrown more than 100 pitches in each of those games, including 109 Tuesday against Baltimore as the Red Sox were forced to use three relievers in a 6-4 victory.
“Eduardo was good; I think the next step for him is to go deeper into the game and keep that pitch count down,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “He did the job, I’m not saying we’re not pleased with the results, but I feel there’s more there. There are certain games we need our starters to go deeper and (Tuesday) was one of them.”
Even though the Red Sox are 12-1 when Rodriguez starts, his limited outings have taken a toll on the bullpen.
“It means I’ve been throwing the ball good and I want to keep doing it http://www.panthersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-marquis-haynes-jersey
,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know. I’m trying to do the best I can to go deeper in the games. If there’s something I’ve got to change, I will do it. But I just want to keep trying to find it.”
Rodriguez can throw a 95-mph fastball and his changeup is considered among the best in the game.
“Sometimes we feel like with his stuff he can bury guys right away,” Cora said. “Setting people up for a 2-2 count throw a changeup and then he can go right away 0-2 and use that good changeup. He had a good one (Tuesday). He can bury guys.”
Cora was asked if it’s a confidence issue with Rodriguez?
“No, he’s very confident, to say the least,” Cora said. “It’s just a matter to make that next step, recognize who you are. Sometimes he gets caught up in being someone who he’s not and Eduardo Rodriguez is a good big-league pitcher. His stuff is up there. He should stay with his strength.”
Rodriguez said he’s been getting advice from teammates and fellow left-handers Chris Sale and David Price.
“They just told me to attack the hitters, attack more, attack more in the counts when maybe you’re 0-2, try to put them away as fast as I can Justin Reid Color Rush Jersey
,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the best way to get deep in the games.”
Rodriguez is 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners.
Seattle is scheduled to start right-hander Mike Leake (7-3, 4.26 ERA), who is 0-2 with a 6.56 ERA in four career starts against the Red Sox. Leake hasn’t lost since May 4. Last time out he went six innings, allowing a run on four hits, in a win over the Angels.
Seattle has won two of the first three games of the series, all of which have been decided by one run. Nelson Cruz scored Dee Gordon with a third-inning single for the only run in Saturday’s game.
The Mariners are a majors-leading 23-10 in one-run games.
“It says a lot about the character of the guys on this ballclub. We’ll continue to roll,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Those one-run games, that’s the name of the game for us.”
Maybe the Tennessee Titans are coming up for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at the perfect time.
After a drama-filled week , the quarterback says his focus remains solely on football as his team prepares to host the Titans in Saturday’s divisional round.
During Brady’s tenure the Patriots are 6-1 against the Titans. He has 13 passing touchdowns and one interception in those games – his best touchdown to interception ratio against any opponent in his career.
He also is 6-0 against Mike Mularkey-coached teams.
But that hasn’t changed the approach for Brady, who is preparing for his 35th playoff start in the aftermath of recent reports suggesting discord between himself http://www.raidersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kolton-miller-jersey
, coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft.
In a joint statement last week, all three men brushed aside any insinuation of strife at the top of one of the NFL’s jewel franchises. Brady reiterated on Thursday that his mind remains on the field.
”We do what we always do. We show up to work and try to do the best we can do,” he said. ”We know there’s a lot at stake and I think everyone’s put a lot into it. It doesn’t really matter what happened outside of this facility.”
Patriots receiver Danny Amendola hasn’t noticed any change in Brady.
”He’s the ultimate professional and he (makes) his teammates better and he demands a lot,” Amendola said. ”We all want to win for him, and we all want to play hard for him.”
Tennessee recognizes the challenge it faces against Brady. It opened the week as a 13-point underdog, and prior to last week hadn’t won a playoff game since the 2003 season.
That doesn’t mean the Titans fear the Patriots.
”It’s a playoff game, so it’s not like it’s the preseason where I can go out there, `Oh, it’s Brady,’ and I’m chillin http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kareem-martin-jersey
,”’ Tennessee All-Pro safety Kevin Byard said. ”This is a playoff game. So I don’t really care if it was Joe Montana. You know what I’m saying? I’m trying to go out there and win the game. I want to make him look like (Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback) Blake Bortles if I can to try to catch a couple picks.
”Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but it’s a playoff game. I’m not really looking at it like that.”
The contrast in quarterbacks will be stark.
At age 40, Brady is the oldest remaining quarterback in the playoffs. The Titans have the youngest in 24-year-old Marcus Mariota. The 16-year age gap between them is the largest between starting quarterbacks in a playoff game in NFL history.
Since 2001, quarterbacks making their first or second career playoff start are 0-7 against New England.
”I think it just comes down to how well you play,” Brady said. ”At the end of the day, it’s not about old guys are going to win or young guys are going to win, the home team, the road team. It’s really going to come down to execution. No one’s going to be able to do it for you.”
If the Titans have any hope of slowing down Brady, the X factor might be defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
With Belichick as head coach, he and LeBeau have faced off in the playoffs once: the 2004 AFC championship game that New England won in Pittsburgh http://www.billsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-marshall-newhouse-jersey
Brady had two touchdown passes in that game, but was also sacked twice.
”The one thing you got to try to do is not let him read you like a book, which he’s very adept at,” LeBeau said. ”Whether you’re pressuring or whether you’re going coverage, if he knows where you’re going, he’s probably going to be pretty effective.”
Brady isn’t taking anything for granted.
”These are fun games to play in,” he said. ”You’re out there, you’re in the position to succeed. Your coaches have put a lot on you. The team’s really relying on you. You’ve got to go out there and make the plays.”
AP Football Writer Teresa Walker in Nashville contributed to this report.