BALTIMORE -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles:
Eduardo Rodriguez's first start of the season was a good one.
Rodriguez, making his 2016 debut after a freak knee injury suffered at the beginning of spring training, tossed six innings and allowed two runs on five hits.
He flashed his trademark changeup on a number of occasions, getting a handful of swing-and-misses with it. His fastball velocity, which had been questionable in his rehab outings, was slightly improved.
He wasn't as efficient as the Red Sox would have liked, needing 89 pitches to get through six innings. But again, for his first start, there was little about which to complain.
Betts had a decent night at the plate.
Betts cracked three homers for five RBI, nearly single-handedly doing enough offensively to beat the Orioles.
He homered to center in the first, down the left field line in the second and, finally, to right field in the seventh to become the 27th player in Red Sox history to homer three times in one game.
Hitting at the top of the lineup, Betts is on pace to hit 36 homers and knock in more than a 120 runs. The power he generates from a relatively small frame is something to behold.
Betts is now second on the team in RBI -- again, from the top spot in the order, though that's been aided by the fact that Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit eighth or ninth for much of the season, providing Betts with plenty of RBI opportunities.
The Chris Young experiment in center worked well for the first night. With Jackie Bradley Jr. on paternity leave, the Sox will keep Mookie Betts in right and have Young play center.
Young was once a full-time center fielder earlier in his career, but in recent years, has been viewed by most as more of a corner outfielder, perhaps without the range to play center.
But Tuesday night, Young did a nice job chasing down a ball hit to the warning track by Adam Jones in the third, then capped it two batters later when he leaped above the wall in center and took away what was likely a two-run homer by Manny Machado.
Robbie Ross Jr. has been an overlooked part of the bullpen.
With improved velocity on his fastball, Ross has 24 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.
Moreover, Ross has allowed just two earned runs over his last 12 games and since April 17 -- about six weeks ago -- he has an ERA of 1.23.
Thought of as a low-leverage long man early in the season, he's earned the trust of the Red Sox to be used in more high-leverage spots as the season has developed.