For the second straight start, Grayson Rodriguez looked like a major league-caliber starter the first time through the order before struggling the second time through.
Rodriguez, the Orioles’ top pitching prospect and a candidate for the starting rotation, allowed a two-run homer in the third inning and then unraveled in the fourth in a Grapefruit League game against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday. The start was similar to his previous outing, also against Boston, in which the 23-year-old retired nine of the first 10 batters with six strikeouts before allowing five straight to reach base.
“Obviously, I don’t enjoy them,” Rodriguez said of the tough outings. “But that’s been the key. It’s all learning experience, and for it to happen in spring training is better than during the regular season.”
In the fourth inning, Rodriguez walked the leadoff batter and then got a comebacker that should have been a double play. But Rodriguez delivered a short throw to the bag that shortstop Jorge Mateo couldn’t corral. Rodriguez induced a double play on the next batter, but his error proved costly. He threw a wild pitch to allow a run, issued his second walk of the frame and allowed an RBI double before getting pulled.
“The first two innings he was really sharp,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We saw overpowering stuff.”
“I think the fourth inning he tired a little bit,” Hyde added. “You saw the changeup go to the backstop and some misses there. It looked like it was fatigue in that fourth inning.”
Rodriguez ended the day allowing six hits and five runs (two earned) in 3 2/3 innings with two walks and three strikeouts. Over his past two starts, Rodriguez has given up 10 hits and nine runs (six earned) in 6 2/3 innings.
“For me, he had so many positives in his first couple innings, and then to have that rough inning is probably not a bad thing for him,” said James McCann, who caught Rodriguez on Saturday. “He can look back at the positives and understand what he did well and then take from the rough inning what he needs to be able to make the adjustment and not let that happen in a game that matters.”
Rodriguez struggled most on Saturday with the top three batters in Boston’s lineup — starters Christian Arroyo, Rafael Devers and Adam Duvall.
“We kind of had a plan, kind of reading their swings from the first time through,” Rodriguez said. “Still, we missed some pitches and the major league guys hit ‘em. That’s just kind of the takeaway from it.”
Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has repeatedly said he wants Rodriguez to break camp in the rotation. Hyde reiterated that sentiment Saturday morning, saying the club is giving him “every opportunity” to be in the rotation on opening day.
“I’m not worried,” Hyde said about whether Rodriguez is feeling pressure to make the team. “I think it’s very normal for a young player to feel that way, but he’s got great stuff. He’s going to …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment