SWB RailRiders’ Eddy Rodriguez makes an impact with his bat

By DJ Eberle - [email protected] | May 17th, 2017 11:10 pm

T.L. EXPRESS

Today’s Game: The RailRiders play the Pawtucket Red Sox in the finale of a four-game set today at 10:35 a.m.

Probable Pitchers: RailRiders RHP Domingo German (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Pawtucket RHP Kyle Kendrick (1-3, 6.00)

Today at PNC Field: It’s a School Day Game, themed towards anti-drugs and alcohol. It’s also College Night. Tickets are just $5 if you show your college ID at the box office.

Riding the Rails: C Kyle Higashioka was placed on the 7-day DL with a left abdominal injury. The move was retroactive to Monday.

On Radio: All RailRiders games can be heard live on NEPA Sports Radio - The Game.

HOW THEY SCORED

RAILRIDERS SECOND: Mike Ford homers to left field. Clint Frazier singles to shallow right field. Mark Payton reaches on a bunt single, Frazier to second. Ruben Tejada singles up the middle, Frazier scores, Payton to second. RAILRIDERS 2-0

PAWTUCKET THIRD: Jantzen Witte works a walk. Rusney Castillo homers to left field, Witte scores. TIED 2-2

RAILRIDERS THIRD: Dustin Fowler reaches first base on an infield single to short. Rob Refsnyder doubles to deep left-center field, Fowler scores. Refsnyder reaches third base after Pawtucket third baseman Matt Dominguez dropped the relay throw. Clint Frazier singles to shallow left field, Refsnyder scores. RAILRIDERS 4-2

PAWTUCKET FOURTH: Sam Travis singles to right field. Travis steals second. Ryan Court flies out to right field and Travis advances to third base. Matt Dominguez singles up the middle, Travis scores. RAILRIDERS 4-3

PAWTUCKET FIFTH: Dan Butler works a walk. Brock Holt reaches first base on a walk, Butler to second. Sam Travis homers to center field, Butler and Holt score. PAWTUCKET 6-4

RAILRIDERS SIXTH: Cito Culver works a walk. Eddy Rodriguez homers to left field, Culver scores. TIED 6-6

PAWTUCKET EIGHTH: Sam Travis works a walk. Steve Selsky singles to center field, Travis to second. Ryan Court singles to right field, Travis scores, Selsky to second. Matt Dominugez reaches first base on a fielder’s choice, Selsky scores, Court out at second. PAWTUCKET 8-6

RAILRIDERS EIGHTH: Clint Frazier works a walk. Frazier advances to third base on an error by Pawtucket pitcher Edgar Olmos on the throw to first. Mark Payton grounds out to second base, Frazier scores. Ruben Tejada singles through the third-base hole. Tejada advances to second on a wild pitch. Cito Culver grounds out to short, Tejada advances to third. Eddy Rodriguez homes to left field, Tejada scores. RAILRIDERS 9-8

MOOSIC — At this point in his career, Eddy Rodriguez puts his pitchers first and his at-bats second.

He doesn’t even think about his upcoming at-bats until he’s in the on-deck circle.

Instead, when he’s in the dugout and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders are batting, he’s talking to his pitchers and developing a plan for the next inning instead of focusing on the opposing pitcher. But as of late, Rodriguez’s offense has been at the forefront, while still keeping is pitchers on point.

After delivering the RailRiders (21-16) a 8-4 win thanks to a 12th-inning walk-off grand slam Monday against the Pawtucket Red Sox, Rodriguez was the difference again Wednesday. The 32-year-old catcher homered twice, including a go-ahead, two-run shot in the eighth inning en route to a 9-8 victory over the Red Sox (15-20).

“I get immersed in my pitchers,” Rodriguez said. “Don’t get me wrong, I expect to succeed when I go up to the plate, but anything I always do offensively is a plus.

“I’m an offensive lineman. I’m worried about protecting my quarterback.”

Rodriguez had a pair of two-run home runs in the win for his third and fourth of the season, all coming against the Red Sox.

Owning a .196 batting average heading into a May 10 game in Pawtucket, Rodriguez went 1 for 2 with a two-run home run in the RailRiders’ 5-2 win. The home run was the start of a five-game hitting streak for the veteran catcher.

He’s 8 for 20 during the stretch, with four home runs, five runs scored and 10 RBI. Rodriguez was 3 for 4 with a pair of home runs, two runs scored and four RBI in Wednesday’s win.

“Over the last three weeks I haven’t had to worry about mechanics,” Rodriguez said. “For about 12 years I’ve had to worry about my mechanics, about my elbow goes here, my leg goes here, but the last few weeks I’ve found something that’s comfortable, something that’s strong — that I feel offensive with. Now I’m just playing with the pitcher — me and the pitcher — where he’s going to throw me. I like to think one of my skills as a catcher is to call a game, so I’m using that to my advantage as much as I can.”

While Rodriguez made the Red Sox pay at the plate, RailRiders manager Al Pedrique showed faith in reliever Ben Heller. The lanky right-hander blew a 6-6 tie in the eighth inning only to recover in the ninth, picking up the win.

Heller allowed the first five Red Sox to reach base to start the inning, with Ryan Court knocking in Sam Travis on an RBI single to right field and Matt Dominguez reaching first base on a fielder’s choice while Steve Selsky scored. The 25-year-old forced Pawtucket second baseman Jantez Witte to hit into a double play to end the inning with the RailRiders down 8-6.

As his teammates picked him up bottom half of the eighth, scoring three runs to take the lead, Heller was able to compose himself before he took the mound in the top of the ninth.

With men on the corners and just one out, Heller struck out two of Pawtucket’s best hitters in Travis and Selsky to end the game. The pair were a combined 3 for 7 with a home run, four runs scored and three RBI.

“I felt like I really just made some good pitches there (in the ninth),” Heller said. “I threw sliders that they’re the shape that I’m looking for. I felt that I threw them with good intensity, kind of executed exactly where I wanted to and to be in the situation where I helped the team finish off a win. I was just pretty pumped up.

“That’s all you can ask for as a player. It really does go a long way knowing that your manager and pitching coach believe in you.”

On the injury front

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre placed catcher Kyle Higashioka on the seven-day disabled list on Wednesday. The move was retroactive to Monday, when the 27-year-old was a late scratch from the starting lineup with an abdominal injury to his left side.

“We’re going to give him time,” Pedrique said. “He didn’t feel 100 percent today, so we’re not going to take any chances. That’s what New York decided to do.”

While the RailRiders lost a player Wednesday, they could be getting one back soon in third baseman Donovan Solano, who’s been on the DL with a calf injury since April 27.

Solano took batting practice for the third time on Wednesday, and said he was feeling much better. He’s also took ground balls Tuesday and Wednesday and will start running longer distances, according to Pedrique.

However, there’s still no timetable for his return.

Up next

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and the Red Sox will finish off their four-game series Thursday morning. Righty Domingo German will make his Triple-A debut and will face Pawtucket right-hander Kyle Kendrick (1-3, 6.00).

First pitch is scheduled for 10:35 a.m.

For other RailRiders stories, click here.

RailRiders 9, Pawtucket 8

Pawtucket`AB`R`H`BI

Castillo cf`5`1`2`2

Holt dh`4`1`1`0

Travis 1b`4`3`2`3

Selsky rf`5`1`1`0

Court ss`4`0`1`1

Domingz 3b`4`0`1`2

Brentz lf`3`1`0`0

Witte 2b`3`1`0`0

Butler c`3`1`1`0

Totals`36`8`9`8

RailRiders`AB`R`H`BI

Williams cf`5`0`0`0

Fowler rf`4`1`1`0

Refsnyder 2b`4`1`2`1

Ford 1b`4`1`1`1

Frazier lf`3`2`2`1

Payton dh`4`0`2`1

Tejada ss`4`1`2`1

Culver 3b`3`1`0`0

Rodriguez c`4`2`3`4

Totals`35`9`13`9

Pawtucket`002`130`020` —`8

RailRiders`022`002`03x`—`9

E: Dominguez (1), Olmos (1); PB: Rodriguez (1); DP: Red Sox 2, RailRiders 1; LOB: Red Sox 9 RailRiders 10; 2B: Castillo (8), Refsnyder (9); HR: Castillo (4), Travis (4), Ford (2), Rodriguez 2 (4); SB: Travis (2), Dominguez (1).

Pawtucket`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Haviland`6.0`11`6`5`1`3

Olmos`1.1`1`2`2`1`0

Rmirz (BS 1)(L 0-1)`0.2`1`1`1`0`0

RailRiders`IP`H`R`ER`BB`SO

Cessa`7.0`5`6`6`3`6

Heller (W 1-3)`2.0`4`2`2`1`4

WP: Ramirez, Heller.

Umpires: Blake Carnahan, HP; Mike Wiseman, 1B; Jeremy Riggs, 3B.

Time: 2:33; Att: 5,098.

Rodriguez
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_Eddy-Rodriguez-CMYK2017517222054585.jpgRodriguez

By DJ Eberle

[email protected]

T.L. EXPRESS

Today’s Game: The RailRiders play the Pawtucket Red Sox in the finale of a four-game set today at 10:35 a.m.

Probable Pitchers: RailRiders RHP Domingo German (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Pawtucket RHP Kyle Kendrick (1-3, 6.00)

Today at PNC Field: It’s a School Day Game, themed towards anti-drugs and alcohol. It’s also College Night. Tickets are just $5 if you show your college ID at the box office.

Riding the Rails: C Kyle Higashioka was placed on the 7-day DL with a left abdominal injury. The move was retroactive to Monday.

On Radio: All RailRiders games can be heard live on NEPA Sports Radio - The Game.

HOW THEY SCORED

RAILRIDERS SECOND: Mike Ford homers to left field. Clint Frazier singles to shallow right field. Mark Payton reaches on a bunt single, Frazier to second. Ruben Tejada singles up the middle, Frazier scores, Payton to second. RAILRIDERS 2-0

PAWTUCKET THIRD: Jantzen Witte works a walk. Rusney Castillo homers to left field, Witte scores. TIED 2-2

RAILRIDERS THIRD: Dustin Fowler reaches first base on an infield single to short. Rob Refsnyder doubles to deep left-center field, Fowler scores. Refsnyder reaches third base after Pawtucket third baseman Matt Dominguez dropped the relay throw. Clint Frazier singles to shallow left field, Refsnyder scores. RAILRIDERS 4-2

PAWTUCKET FOURTH: Sam Travis singles to right field. Travis steals second. Ryan Court flies out to right field and Travis advances to third base. Matt Dominguez singles up the middle, Travis scores. RAILRIDERS 4-3

PAWTUCKET FIFTH: Dan Butler works a walk. Brock Holt reaches first base on a walk, Butler to second. Sam Travis homers to center field, Butler and Holt score. PAWTUCKET 6-4

RAILRIDERS SIXTH: Cito Culver works a walk. Eddy Rodriguez homers to left field, Culver scores. TIED 6-6

PAWTUCKET EIGHTH: Sam Travis works a walk. Steve Selsky singles to center field, Travis to second. Ryan Court singles to right field, Travis scores, Selsky to second. Matt Dominugez reaches first base on a fielder’s choice, Selsky scores, Court out at second. PAWTUCKET 8-6

RAILRIDERS EIGHTH: Clint Frazier works a walk. Frazier advances to third base on an error by Pawtucket pitcher Edgar Olmos on the throw to first. Mark Payton grounds out to second base, Frazier scores. Ruben Tejada singles through the third-base hole. Tejada advances to second on a wild pitch. Cito Culver grounds out to short, Tejada advances to third. Eddy Rodriguez homes to left field, Tejada scores. RAILRIDERS 9-8

Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle


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