Detroit Tigers: The Tigers work too hard for Francisco Rodriguez’s failures
The Detroit Tigers put up two good fights against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday and Sunday.
But, the Detroit Tigers’ leads were squelched by Francisco Rodriguez and his inability to close a game consistently.
Rodriguez’s blown saves are troublesome, especially because every single win counts in the tight AL Central marathon.
Problematic Pitching on Saturday
On Saturday night against the A’s, the Tigers offense did an exceptional job manufacturing runs. The offense did its job, but the pitchers did not. Jordan Zimmermann gave up three home runs to keep the game tight. Fortunately, the other nine men who get to swing bats were able to overcome his issues on the mound. Their hard work was quickly negated by three quick pitches from Zimmermann. It was frustrating to watch on television – I can’t imagine how frustrating it was for the team.
It seems like every time the Tigers get a lead when Zimmermann is pitching, he responds by giving up a home run. This happened in the outing against the Chicago White Sox on April 30 when he gave up a home run to Todd Frazier in the sixth inning. He also did it several times in the outing against the Seattle Mariners on April 25, when the Tigers won 19-9; he gave up three home runs in that game. Fortunately, in those two prior games, the offense outscored him. But, against the A’s on Saturday, Zimmermann and K-Rod combined to outscore the Tigers offense! It was only time before these two combined to kill good offense created by their unfortunate teammates.
Rodriguez and Zimmermann Share the Blame
Even though Rodriguez is getting the majority of the blame for the loss on Saturday, Zimmermann deserves some, too. Had he not given up three home runs, Rodriguez would have had more wiggle room in the ninth. But, this still does not excuse Rodriguez’s failure to do his job and close out the game with a win.
Despite the poor performance of K-Rod on Saturday, he managed to get himself back into the closing spot on Sunday afternoon. Again, he had a one-run lead. Again, he blew it. Again, the Tigers offense worked hard to get the lead.
The Tigers offense is coming together to not just score on home runs. They are manufacturing rallies with players like Andrew Romine, Nicholas Castellanos, and the clutch Victor Martinez. Sunday’s offense was especially notable since James McCann, whose bat has been quiet lately, hit a big home run to get the lead in the top of the sixth.
K-Rod Blew It Again
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But, like Jordan Zimmermann, Daniel Norris gave up too many home runs. Had he not given up those two home runs, the game may have had a different outcome. Possibly. But, again, Francisco Rodriguez should have been able to do his job and close out the game with a win for the Tigers.
Time to Stop K-Rod
Francisco Rodriguez should not be allowed to close any more games. The Tigers have other relief pitchers who can do the job and the best reliever should take over the job. Justin Wilson has only given up two runs and a total of three hits in 12.2 innings pitched. There is no reason why he should not be given the job of closing Tigers’ games. The other pitcher who could do it is Alex Wilson. While his numbers aren’t quite as good as Justin Wilson’s, they aren’t bad and he has proven that he can handle stress with ease.
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If Rodriguez shows up on the mound again, then it is clear the management has no respect for the hard work of the rest of the team. Blowing two saves in two games in a row is problematic and K-Rod should not be rewarded with more time on the mound. He blew five saves in 2016. He has already blown four in 2017 and is leading the MLB in this stat. He must be stopped. Now.