Oct 01

Concern over Rodriguez ….

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.

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.

Sep 26

This Day in Baseball History ….

Pennant Fever

Pennant Fever

The 1967 American League pennant race was arguably the most gripping in history with Boston, Chicago, Minnesota and Detroit all in contention in the final week. For much of the season, the Angels were in it, and were the first to fade away. Next to go were the White Sox, who had a domineering staff but couldn’t score and runs.

On this day, Carl Yastrzemski hits his 43rd homer, but the Red Sox lose to Cleveland. Harmon Killebrew homers twice as Minnesota beats the Angels. Detroit’s Mickey Lolich threw a 1-0 shutout at the Yankees.

The Impossible Dream

The Impossible Dream

At the end of the day, Minnesota (91-68) led idle Chicago (89-68) and Boston (90-69) by a game and the Tigers (89-69) by 1.5 games.

The Red Sox beat the Twins on the season’s final day, but had to wait around for Detroit to lose to the Angels to clinch.

I followed that race with a transistor radio late at night and pulled for the Red Sox as I grew to like them because Tony Conigliaro was one of my favorite players growing up.

Dec 17

Rodriguez eyes big year ….

RODRIGUEZ: Expects big numbers this summer.

RODRIGUEZ: Expects big numbers this summer.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel stood at the podium and in a classic photo opportunity helped his closer, Francisco Rodriguez, put on his new jersey.

“Seventy-five,’’ Manuel said as he looked at the number. “That’s the number of saves he’s going to have.’’

Rodriguez, introduced this afternoon at the Citi Bank Building in Long Island City, understands the math.

“I’m aware of what is expected,’’ said Rodriguez, who expects the same after his record 62 saves last season for the Angels earned him a three-year, $37 million contract with the Mets.

“Every year I come to spring training with the goal to have better numbers than I had the year before.’’

Why the Mets?

Besides money, Rodriguez said his decision “was easy … they are one team that is hungry to win.’’

General manager Omar Minaya said the acquisitions of Rodriguez, and J.J. Putz from Seattle, who’ll be introduced tomorrow at Citi Field, have solved the Mets’ bullpen problem, which was defined by 29 blown saves last season.

“One thing we lacked last year was being able to close out a game, but we went out and got the best closer in the game,’’ Minaya said of Rodriguez.

Dec 09

Closing in on K-Rod ….

K-ROD: Will he celebrate soon?

K-ROD: Will he celebrate soon?

The Mets are getting closer to getting a deal done with soon-to-be former Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez. The numbers are being reported at $37 million over three years, which is a far cry from the original asking price of $75 million over five years.

I’m guessing the agent’s thinking could be to take the three years in this rotten economy because Rodriguez will be young enough at the end of the contract (27 now) for another huge pay day.

You know things are heating up when the player talks. Here’s what Rodriguez told the LA Times: “I don’t want to say much about it. But it’s going well with them. Everything is going OK, so we’ll see what’s going to happen.”