By Jim Moore
I was just listening to the ninth inning as we drove home from the Cougar-Husky baseball game Friday night.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be there in person or watching at home when Fernando Rodney was trying to blow the Mariners’ 6-3 lead over the Rangers.
Michael Grey saw the closer with the Tigers and said before Rodney threw even one pitch for the Mariners that the guy’s an absolute adventure.
Last week in Texas, you could give Rodney a pass for blowing a save because Brad Miller made him get a fourth out when he scooped a too-high throw to second for a force-out that wasn’t that would have ended the game.
But last night? To have a 6-3 lead with one out and give up two walks with the bases loaded to make it 6-5? And bring Adrian Beltre to the plate?
You know what happened – Beltre hit a screaming liner that a diving Justin Smoak somehow snared and turned into a game-ending double play by stepping on first.
You know what should have happened – a lesser first baseman would not have made that play. Beltre would have had a bases-clearing double in the Rangers’ 8-6 win.
I watched replays of Smoak’s fantastic play, and in the background, you could see Rodney firing his celebratory arrow, and I’m thinking: “Does he really feel like he earned that save?”
As someone on the text toy at 710-710 said: “Rodney should’ve given Smoak the arrow to fire at the end of the game.”
Twitter and the text toy were abuzz Friday night, scorching the Mariners’ closer.
From the AP’s Tim Booth: “The Fernando Rodney ride is like Gravitron. It’s fun, but there’s also a chance you’ll puke.”
Other Twitter offerings included: “Dude is serving up heart attacks” and “Rodney stresses me out. He’s nuts.”
At 710-710, during the post-game show:
“Never ever wanted to see Rodney in a Mariners’ uniform. Never ever want to see him try to close a game again. No lead is safe.”
“So far Rodney is very scary with his control issues.”
“Can’t stand Rodney. So unreliable. Not enjoyable to watch. Get rid of him.”
“Please get rid of Rodney so I can sleep at night.”
“Why the hell did they pick up Rodney?”
And my favorite: “Bring back (Danny) Farquhar.”
In a free-agent acquisition, the Mariners gave Rodney a two-year, $14 million contract. Before he even arrived, I questioned why they signed him after Farquhar saved 16 of 18 games last year.
I thought the money would’ve been better spent on a hitter, and even if $14 million couldn’t have enticed Kendrys Morales to return, maybe they could have used it on Nelson Cruz or someone else, anyone else.
I just didn’t see the point in paying that much to a 37-year-old closer when you had Farquhar here already.
For the most part, I get a kick out of Rodney with his crooked hat, arrow thing and high-wire act, but we already went through that edge-of-your-seat stuff with Tom Wilhelmsen early last year and don’t really need that kind of entertainment anymore.
His biggest issue has been his control – in 7 1/3 innings, he’s walked six batters.
Even in a non-save situation against the Astros on Wednesday, it took Rodney 28 pitches to get out of the ninth inning unscathed. Then Friday night, 27 pitches.
I don’t think he would’ve thrown a 28th pitch if Beltre had cleared the bases. Prince Fielder was the next batter, and Charlie Furbush was furiously warming up in the bullpen.
After the game, Rodney made some surprising comments.
Regarding Beltre’s at-bat, he said: “In that situation, I was looking for a ground ball for a double play to end the game. I made a good pitch, line drive to first and game over.”
Not to put words in his mouth, but if I were him, I would’ve said something along the lines of: “Man, I got lucky there. I’m taking Smoakie to the Metropolitan Grill to thank him.”
We’ll see how this plays out, but I’m guessing it’s a disaster waiting to happen and we’ll see Farquhar as the closer again by the middle of June.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website jimmoorethego2guy.com and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.