- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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1. Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox. The 22-year-old left-hander made his major league debut and looked like a 32-year-old veteran. He showed poise and excellent fastball command in allowing just three hits in 7 2/3 scoreless innings in a 5-1 win over the Rangers.
#RedSox may have just found one big solution to their starting pitching woes in Eduardo Rodriguez 93-95mph..above avg ch and decent slider!!
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) May 29, 2015
Rodriguez threw 72 fastballs out of his 105 pitches and averaged 93.4 mph, outstanding velocity for a left-hander. There was nothing fancy with his fastball location -- a lot that were around the middle of the plate, although he wasn't shy about pounding right-handers inside. After the game, Boston manager John Farrell said Rodriguez had earned a second start. Well, sure, I guess so. ESPN's Keith Law just named Rodriguez his No. 18 prospect earlier this week and while Andrew Miller paid nice dividends for the Orioles last season down the stretch and in the postseason, that could end up being a deal that haunts the Orioles for a long time.
2. San Francisco Giants offense. Shelby Miller held them in check for seven innings but, trailing 1-0, the Braves lifted Miller for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. (Somewhat of a debatable decision; Andrelton Simmons had led off with a single and Miller, at just 86 pitches, could have attempted a sacrifice.) Anyway, the Giants then exploded against the Atlanta bullpen for a six-run eighth inning and 7-0 victory. Yes, we're not supposed to focus on batting average so much in this age of advanced analytics, but check out the game-ending batting averages for the Giants' starting position players: .326, .296, .294, .296, .305, .296, .315, .293. In 2015? Impressive. It's like a lineup out of the 1930s, when everyone hit .300.
There's more to life than batting average, of course, and the Giants remain just 17th in the majors at 4.20 runs per game. But in May -- Hunter Pence returned May 12 -- they're third in the majors with over five runs per game. It's a fun offense, maybe a little better than last year given a better season from Brandon Belt, an improved Brandon Crawford and a full season of Joe Panik, who seems to be proving that he can continue to hit right around .300 and get on base. And it's refreshing to see a team with a lineup full of guys who work the count, hit line drives and don't accept striking out twice a game like that's just part of the gig.
3. San Francisco Giants pitching. Rookie Chris Heston tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings as the Giants threw their MLB-leading ninth shutout. When they're at home, they seem untouchable:
Giants have eight shutouts in their last 12 home games. That's kind of ridiculous.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 29, 2015
That number of shutouts is a surprise to me considering some of the warts in the Giants' rotation: No Matt Cain, no Jake Peavy, old Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum hasn't been good in a few years. Well, not only has Heston delivered some strong outings, but Lincecum has a 2.56 ERA and Ryan Vogelsong has allowed four runs in five starts in May. I'm a little skeptical that's one of the better rotations -- they're 11th in rotation ERA and 19th in strikeout rate -- but they do have a knack for spinning zeroes at home.
4. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates. A few weeks ago we were asking "What's wrong?" Now we're pointing out that McCutchen is hot and so are the Pirates. He went 3-for-5 in the Pirates' 11-5 pounding of the Padres -- Pittsburgh hit three home runs off Ian Kennedy, as the Padres continue to suffer from a severe case of gopheritis. McCutchen is hitting .314 with five home runs in May and the Pirates are now three games over .500 with their seventh win a row, a stretch they've outscored their opponents 46-14. The Padres slipped to 23-26 and you have to wonder if the Bud Black rumors will start heating up.
4hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
5hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
10hRandy Jennings, Special to ESPN.com
2dESPN Stats & Information