Red Sox lefty Rodriguez aims to end drought vs. Jays (Sep 05, 2017)

BY AP • September 7, 2017

BOSTON -- Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched well enough since the All-Star break to be better than winless as he heads into a Tuesday night outing against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

He hasn't been great, but he hasn't gotten any breaks, either.

In nine starts since coming off the disabled list after recovering from his latest knee injury, Rodriguez has six no-decisions, and the Red Sox went 3-3 in those games. However, he hasn't been good at all his past two times out, yielding 17 hits and 10 runs in 11 2/3 innings.

Rodriguez (4-5, 4.40 ERA) hasn't won a game since May 26, going 0-4 in his past 10 starts. His real problems have come early in his outings, putting his team in a hole. He tends to give it up early and then settle down.

"You try every start to do better," Rodriguez said after losing to the New York Yankees on Thursday in the first game of a four-game series. "That's all I'm thinking. I'm not thinking about any game in the past, I'm thinking every time I get the ball, just get on the mound and try to put the team in position to win the game."

His outing Tuesday suddenly is more important as the Red Sox have lost four of their past five games, and their lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East is down to 2 1/2 games.

Rodriguez's mound opponent will be right-hander Marco Estrada, who also hasn't pitched well in his last two starts -- but has won both.

Estrada (7-8, 5.23 ERA) allowed 15 hits, nine runs and three home runs in his past two appearances. He was 3-1 in August but with a 5.35 ERA. The 3-1 run comes after two months without a victory. He gave up six runs on 10 hits in five innings Thursday, but Kendrys Morales hit three homers as the Blue Jays ended the Baltimore Orioles' seven-game winning streak.

"A win's a win. It wasn't necessarily a pretty thing, but it was a win," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "You never feel good in this ballpark (Camden Yards) ... any time a ball gets up into the air, you never really know here."

The last-place Blue Jays, who checked out of a possible wild-card chase by getting swept by the Red Sox in a three-game series in Toronto last week, split four games in Baltimore before continuing their road trip in Boston -- and hit four homers in winning 10-4 on Monday.

Rodriguez is 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA lifetime against the Jays, 0-0 in two games (one in relief) this season. He is 1-1 with a 4.23 ERA at Fenway Park this season.

Estrada is 4-4 with a 3.53 ERA lifetime against Boston, yielding just two earned runs in 10 1/3 innings against Boston this season. He is 3-2 with a 3.93 ERA lifetime at Fenway Park.

Neither team has had much success against the Tuesday night pitchers.

For the Blue Jays, Morales, who homered again Monday, is 4-for-13 (.308) against Rodriguez, but Josh Donaldson is 1-for-14 (.071) and Jose Bautista 3-for-16 (.188) with a homer against him. Bautista also homered Monday, his 25th Fenway Park blast.

On the other side, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who rested his left knee again Monday night, is 11-for-26 (.423) and Rajai Davis 3-for-8 (.375) against Estrada. But Brock Holt is 1-for-16 (.083), Xander Bogaerts 2-for-23 (.087), Christian Vazquez 1-for-8 (.125), Mookie Betts 3-for-20 (.150) and Chris Young 2-for-9 (.222) against him.

Toronto played its past three games without Gibbons, who is in Texas on personal business with no reported return date. Bench coach DeMarlo Hale is running the team in his absence.

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