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A Eduardo Rodriguez turnaround will be key for Boston

With the All-Star Game in the books, the second half of the 2021 season is hours away. The Red Sox will begin the final stretch  against the Yankees with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound. While Boston is tied with Houston for the best record in the AL, Rodriguez struggled in the first half. As the Red Sox look to secure a division title, a return to form from Rodriguez will be key.

In 17 starts this season, Rodriguez has posted a 5.52 ERA. While the Red Sox lefty has struck out 107 batters, he has allowed 14 home runs. Opponents are hitting .284 against Rodriguez in 89.4 innings of work. After a solid start to the season, the twenty-eight-year-old posted an ERA over 5.00 in May and June.

As Rodriguez looks to turn his season around, he will have to limit home runs. In 11 of his 17 starts this year, he has allowed a home run. Out of 63 qualified starters, his 5.52 ERA is the third-worst. Although he did miss all of last season due to myocarditis due to COVID-19, it has been a forgettable 2021 campaign. Rodriguez, however, will get a chance to turn his season around, starting on Thursday night.

 

Why Rodriguez will be key in the second half

When the Red Sox arrive in New York on Thursday, all eyes will be on Jarren Duran. The Red Sox prospect will be making his highly anticipated debut but, it will be up to Rodriguez to set the tone for the second half. He was the Red Sox ace just two years ago and has pitched at least six innings in three of his last four starts.

In 2021, Rodriguez has still recorded high strikeout numbers. He has the ability to get batters out and has pitched deeper into games of late. He just has to improve his control and limit baserunners. The Venezuelan native will also be looking to boost his value with free agency on the horizon.

Over the next two weeks, the Red Sox will face the Blue Jays, Rays, and Yankees. It will be one of Boston’s toughest stretches but also a golden opportunity to strengthen their division lead. During that span, the Red Sox will need Rodriguez and the rest of the rotation at their best. If Rodriguez can regain his 2019 form, then his first half will become a distant memory.

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-Jamie Gatlin ( JamieGatlin17 on Twitter)

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