It is easy to express concern over Francisco Rodriguez after yesterday’s 40-pitch, ninth-inning meltdown, but the reality is what happened shouldn’t be considered a surprise.
Rodriguez has been living on the edge all season, with yesterday being his seventh blown save of the summer. That’s a little over one a month, which is acceptable for closers not named Mariano Rivera.
RODRIGUEZ: Did a lot more celebrating last year.
In Mitch Williams-type fashion, Rodriguez makes an adventure out of every opportunity as he did last year for the Angels.
Rodriguez had a career year in 2008 with 68 saves, but he’s had more telling numbers this year, such as 111 base runners in 67 2/3 innings. His fastball is off and he’s been overly reliant on his breaking ball.
Perhaps the Angels knew something, because otherwise, you don’t let dominant closers get away. It’s not unreasonable to suggest the Angels forecasted a breakdown, which is why they wouldn’t give Rodriguez the money or the years.
I’m betting he doesn’t last the three years without breaking down.
A big pow-wow today at Citi Field, with Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya discussing the fates of the coaching staffs with Jeff Wilpon. Somebody has to fall on the sword.
Who will it be? Who should it be?
Rodriguez stands up.
Mets reliever Francisco Rodriguez has thrown a few of his teammates under the bus this season after a blown save opportunity, notably Daniel Murphy.
Yesterday afternoon, Rodriguez gave up five runs in the ninth inning, including a game-winning grand slam to Justin Maxwell. Rodriguez hasn’t had too many save opportunities this month, but refused to accept rust as the easy way out.
“No, if I suck I suck, I don’t make excuses,’’ Rodriguez said. “To all those fans out there watching that poor effort today, I apologize. I’m really embarrassed. I just have to suck it up and keep working hard and make sure that doesn’t happen again.’’
Cards-Mets defined intense.
Throughout their history, the Mets have had a series of rivalries, but there was something special in their duel with the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1980s.
On this day in 1985, the teams began a three-game series at Busch Stadium, with the Mets winning the first game, 1-0 in 11 innings on Darryl Strawberry’s monstrous homer off Ken Dayley that broke light bulbs on the scoreboard.
STRAWBERRY: Stirred the drink.
Ron Darling and John Tudor each pitched 10 scoreless innings.
“I get goose bumps when I come back to this stadium and remember the rivalry,’’ Darling said. “I was sitting on the bench and had a good view of that monster shot Darryl hit. I think that in all my career, that was the most excited I’ve ever seen a clubhouse after a game. Guys were crying and hugging and laughing.”
The Cardinals would win that season, but the Mets rolled in 1986.
Strawberry was catalyst of those Mets teams during the 1980s. He is among the few players who made everybody stop and watch when he came to the plate because of his awesome power potential. Few guys have had that ability to make a stadium gasp with one swing, and Strawberry was one of them.
The Mets have had several horrific defeats this season, with yesterday’s loss at Washington taking its place among them.
The Nationals sent seven batters to the plate in the ninth against Francisco Rodriguez, and with five of them scoring. Rodriguez walked in one run then gave up a game-winning grand slam to Justin Maxwell.
Yesterday drops into the category with the Luis Castillo pop-up game, Daniel Murphy’s dropped fly in Florida, blowing a five-run lead to Pittsburgh and Ryan Church’s failure to touch third. Those were more serious because the Mets were alive then. Now they are dead, but yesterday was a complete tank job.
The loss wasted another strong outing by Tim Redding, who continued this bid for fifth starter consideration next spring by giving up one run on four hits in six innings.
The Mets are 3–0 in Redding’s last three starts, He has a 2.84 ERA in that span and a 3.23 ERA in six starts this September.