A closer look at where Eduardo Rodriguez’s debut ranks
How remarkable was Red Sox lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez's big league debut Thursday? A few markers:
■ Rodriguez is just the eighth lefthander under the age of 23 since at least 1914 (the earliest point of Baseball-Reference.com’s game logs) to throw more than seven shutout innings in his big league debut, and the first since Kirk Reuter of the Giants on July 7, 1993.
■ At 22 years and 51 days, he’s the youngest starting pitcher to throw more than seven shutout innings in his big league debut since Dave Ford did it for the Orioles at 21 years, 247 days, on Sept. 2, 1978, and the youngest lefty to do it since Billy Rohr’s one-hitter for the Red Sox against the Yankees on April 14, 1967.
■ Rodriguez became the first Red Sox pitcher to log more than seven innings in his big league debut in more than 20 years. The last debutante to contribute that kind of innings load was Tim Van Egmond, who allowed five earned runs in 7 2/3 innings on June 26, 1994.
■ Rodriguez became the first Red Sox starter in almost exactly 20 years to allow zero earned runs in his big league debut. The last to do it had been Vaughn Eshelman, who threw six shutout innings on May 2, 1995. The last Sox rookie to pitch at least seven shutout innings in his big league debut was Rohr.
■ Rodriguez was the 11th pitcher since 1914, and the first since Colin McHugh in 2012, to throw seven or more shutout innings while permitting three or fewer hits and striking out at least seven batters in his big league debut.
■ He’s the first lefthander to accomplish that combination (seven-plus shutout innings, three or fewer hits, seven or more strikeouts) in his big league debut since Karl Spooner of the Brooklyn Dodgers on Sept. 22, 1954.
■ Rodriguez joined Jon Lester (seven times), Franklin Morales (once in 2012), and Kason Gabbard (once in 2012) as the only Red Sox lefthanders to deliver an outing of seven-plus shutout innings with three or fewer hits allowed and seven or more strikeouts in the last 20 years.
■ The 22-year-old was the first Red Sox starter to strike out seven or more in his debut since Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2007, and the first Red Sox lefthander to accomplish the feat since Kevin Morton in 1991. He was the youngest Sox starter to punch out seven-plus in his debut since Juan Pena struck out eight at the age of 21 in 1999. He is the youngest lefthanded Sox starter since at least 1914 to punch out seven-plus in his debut.
Of course, the historic context was unnecessary to demonstrate how special Rodriguez was in his debut. The horrible swings taken by one Rangers hitter after another offered their own compelling narrative.