Don’t Overlook What Fernando Rodney Did Last Night


Did that last post leave you feeling like the Seattle Mariners relievers are doomed? They certainly have their work cut out for them, especially with the starters struggling so badly right now. If this team wants to compete, they’ll have to find a way to hold late leads, no matter how many innings the rotation’s throwing.

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Danny Farquhar and Charlie Furbush are stealing headlines today, and perhaps rightly so. They did blow a winnable game in epic fashion. But while they’re two of the best relievers on the team, they’re not the only two high-octane arms hanging around in the back of the bullpen. They haven’t even had the most pronounced recent struggles.

Fernando Rodney has had a really tough go of things lately. He recorded a win, which means he entered in a save situation and totally blew it, only to be bailed out shortly thereafter. His next outing was even worse, and there’d been talk that perhaps it was time to find a new closer. One who doesn’t walk nearly as many batters.

Lloyd McClendon sent Rodney in to pitch the ninth last night, even though the Mariners were trailing 6-3. Seemed smart to me – let him get some work in a lower-than-usual leverage situation, maybe hoping that doing so will help him land on his feet. If that was the thought process, then the results suggest we should be thrilled with the way McClendon called this particular shot.

Rodney faced three hitters. He struck them all out, all swinging. Only one of those guys saw more than one ball. As much as any given outing can be needed, this was really something Rodney needed.

Robbie Grossman, Marwin Gonzalez, and Chris Carter aren’t exactly great hitters, but that’s hardly important given what this outing could mean for the closer’s confidence. Moreso, it reminded us that he’s not the load-the-bases-just-for-fun monster that we often make him out to be. Sure, we do that because he forces our hand, but let’s not detract from the point that this was a gem of an outing.

Fifteen pitches, five balls, and four swinging strikes, including three for the strikeout. That’s a tremendous, efficient outing, and now it’s the most recent thing Rodney’s done. Yes, this bullpen is overworked. No, Fernando Rodney can’t fix that. But if he’s throwing the way we know he can throw, then he’s nothing short of an enormous boost for a staff that desperately needs it.