Boston Red Sox Eduardo Rodriguez returns to full form after battling COVID-19. Now that fans have finally returned to the ballparks and stadiums around the country again, it has been rare to see anyone in the dugout wearing a mask. Things appear to be normal again or at least feels as such. This rings true if the spectator is going to the game or watching it on television. The unfortunate reality is COVID-19 still is a threat and hovers not only over baseball but all sports.
Earlier in the season, the Red Sox had a scare when Matt Barnes was temporarily placed off the roster because he didn’t feel well and spent a day on the IR (injured reserve) list. Rodriguez; however, pitched five shutout innings and struck out ten Detroit Tigers around the same time Barnes was placed on IR, per The Boston Globe. The Red Sox went on to win that game 4-1, which gave them the momentum going into the following game they needed to ultimately win the pennant race. This was the last time we saw Rodriguez suit up in the Red Sox uniform.
“It was huge,” said Barnes, who locked down a game that saw five Sox pitchers strike out 18. “Eddie went out there and does what he does.”
Boston Red Sox and Rodriguez Affected by COVID-19
Rodriguez missed last season due to contracting COVID-19 in July, per sources. He initially thought he recovered only to realize the virus caused myocarditis. This sidelined Rodriguez from baseball and everyday activity for a while. In fact, his first physical activity was a walk around the block. Many questioned how this will affect Rodriguez going forward. While this may seem fair to propose, there is no data that can determine or predict the outcomes due to its rareness and uniqueness.
Rodriguez’s ERA was an unseemly 6.21 ERA in mid-June. He went 2-1 with a 2.83 ERA in the five games that followed, striking out 34 over 28⅔ innings, per ESPN.
Cora finally granted him his first start since being sidelined against the Yankees. He left in the second inning with a migraine. Rodriguez later pitched poorly later in the week. One would assume, the COVID-19 affected him physically as well as mentally, messing with his confidence.
He eventually received another shot nearing the playoffs, Red Sox manager Alex Cora believed in his pitching abilities and his skill level. He saw a pitcher who is healthy and can make in-game adjustments if needed. Late in the season, Rodriguez got 12 swing-and-misses with his fastball.
“He went after them,” Cora said.