As it turns out, Steven Wright is not the only Boston Red Sox starting pitcher nursing an injury.
Tuesday night Eduardo Rodriguez left his start after just four innings. A painful hamstring was the diagnosis but it wasn’t thought to be serious.
Ian Browne of MLB.com reported on Wednesday that John Farrell seemed optimistic about Rodriguez making his next start.
“He’s improved today,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “He went out and he did some running. Played some catch. I think last night he was probably a little bit more cautious coming off the knee injury of earlier in the spring. Not to say that there wasn’t some tightness there — there was.
“But today, he’s improved, he’s got more range of motion. There’s no strength deficits. So when we get over to Detroit, he’s likely to play some long toss and then get on the mound his third day as opposed to his second day. But still, at this point, we’re planning on him starting on Sunday.”
Sunday morning Michael Silverman of The Boston Herald tweeted that things had changed. The hamstring was still painful. The start that Rodriguez was slated to make Sunday afternoon was cancelled. Henry Owens, a former top pitching prospect for the Red Sox would be recalled from Pawtucket to start Sunday afternoon against the Detroit Tigers.
Owens has been to this point a disappointment. From 2013 through 2015 Owens made regular appearances on the various MLB top prospect lists.
The problem is that once Henry actually got to the majors, he struggled with control. Henry’s problems are quite simple. He falls behind in the count and then either walks batters, or ends up throwing predictable and hittable pitches over the plate.
Both results ultimately lead to runs for the opposition.
Sunday afternoon’s matchup is particularly daunting.
The Red Sox are trying to win three of four on the road against the Detroit Tigers. They’ve won two in a row, but Sunday the Tigers are sending former AL Cy Young, AL rookie of the year and AL MVP winner Justin Verlander to the mound.
The six-time All-Star is having his best season since 2013. Verlander’s biggest problem this season has been home runs. He’s given up 22 of them, and he’s allowing that at the highest rate of his career.
The Red Sox are not a great matchup for a home run prone pitcher. They’re ranked 7th in the American League in long balls and have two very legit power threats in Mookie Betts and David Ortiz.
Owens will have his hands full dealing with a Tigers lineup ranked 5th in home runs and 6th in team ops. The Red Sox are also less than 24 hours removed from an impressive 3-2 win that required four Red Sox relievers, to finish the final four innings.
A 1-hour, 11-mimute rain delay between the fifth and sixth innings ended Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz’s night after just 51 pitches.
Sunday there’s significant pressure on Owens to not just be effective, but to be durable as well.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm ET Sunday afternoon.