One day after recording a rocky five-out save, Fernando Rodney took a rough turn against the Jays. So we're back to worrying about him. Or maybe you never stopped worrying. Either way, he's a big, bad-hatted worry.
Rodney attempted to protect a one-run lead at Toronto on Wednesday, but Jose Bautista greeted him rudely, with a no-doubt bomb. Tie game. Save blown. Rodney then retired Edwin Encarnacion, but gave up a five-pitch walk to Adam Lind. At that point, Joe Maddon had seen all he needed to see. Joel Peralta entered, recording two quick outs.
We're now 18.1 innings into Rodney's season, and he's already blown four save chances, issued 17 walks and allowed three home runs. In 74.1 innings last year, he only blew two saves, walked 15 batters and yielded two homers.
Peralta is the clear handcuff in the Rays' bullpen, so get him if you can. He's owned in just 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues, he's pitching well (2.08 ERA, 1.02 WHIP), and he's presumably Plan B.
When Plan A is Rodney, Plan B better be good.
• Rex Brothers got the nod in the ninth for Colorado, successfully protecting a three-run lead to earn his first save of the season. Matt Belisle handled the eighth for the Rox. Don't make any bold moves for Brothers, because it sounds like Rafael Betancourt's achy groin is not a DL event. Betancourt is expected to return by the weekend.
One more piece of Rockies news: Josh Rutledge was demoted to Triple-A, where he probably should have opened the year. (It's a level he skipped.) Rutledge has actually hit better than I'd expected this season ... not that he hit well (.242/.298/.357). We'll see him again. DJ LeMahieu takes over for Rutledge in Colorado, and he's hit well this year (7-for-17 in the bigs, .364/.405/.510 at Triple-A), but he offers little pop and few steals.
• At this point, we probably need to consider Don Mattingly's managerial status to be day-to-day, after he benched one of his team's most expensive stars, Andre Ethier, and kinda/sorta called out GM Ned Colletti. Here are a few choice quotes from Mattingly, via the LA Times:
“For me, today, I’m putting out my lineup that I feel is going to be the most competitive and going to compete the hardest,” he said.Asked if Ethier is no longer a player he automatically writes into the lineup every day, Mattingly said, “Well, he wasn’t today.”
Nope, he wasn't. Scott Van Slyke found himself playing right for LA, and he went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles in the Dodgers' 9-2 win over Milwaukee. Ethier will make something like $9 billion over the next four years*, so he has to play somewhere.
Here's more Mattingly, discussing roster composition:
“It’s not just all, ‘Let’s go put an All-Star team out there and play games and the team with the All-Star team wins.’ It’s trying to find that balance of a team that’s got a little grit and a little fight. They’ll fight you and has enough talent to get there also, with that. All grit and no talent is not going to get you there and all talent and no grit is not going to get you there."
So it's not all sunshine for the Dodgers. Ugly situation. If your fantasy league uses grit as a category (GT, or xGT+), these guys are about to get interesting.
(*Small exaggeration. Looked it up: $85 million over five years.)
• Adam Eaton gave us a scare on Wednesday, but maybe the news isn't too terrible. Eaton experienced an apparent setback with his elbow, leaving his rehab assignment and heading to Phoenix for a visit with his doctor. The early word, as re-tweeted by Eaton himself, is that the current problem is a muscular issue, not his UCL. So let's not panic. Yet.
• Zack Cozart went 4-for-5 against the Mets, with a pair of doubles off Matt Harvey (no easy task). Let's hope it's the beginning of a mini-surge for Cozart, a shortstop with power/speed potential. He went 17/30 at Triple-A back in 2010.
• Jarrod Parker took another loss on Wednesday, but he faced a tough Texas lineup in Arlington and he wasn't a complete disaster: 7.0, 6 H, 3 R, 5K. I'm calling it progress. Parker has actually been tolerable in his last five starts. Keep him on the radar.
• If you were expecting a solid outing from Ubaldo Jimenez against the Tigers, then ... BWAHAHAHA. Come on. You didn't, right? Of course not. He's teased us this year, but it's tough to buy the revival. Jimenez gave up seven hits, six runs and three walks in 4.0 innings on Wednesday, confirming all our fears.
• Chase Utley is headed for a Thursday MRI on his injured ribs, and no one seems to expect a quick recovery. Seems like we have a high probability of a DL trip. Not totally unexpected with Utley, but we thought the knees would be the issue. If you're searching for a replacement second baseman, consider Jedd Gyorko (34 percent owned, hitting .323 last 30 days), Kelly Johnson (55 percent) or perhaps Dustin Ackley (25 percent). If you have to go deeper than that, maybe just give up and wait for football. Your call.
• The Mark Melancon save is a nothing-to-see-here event. Jason Grilli threw a million pitches on Tuesday, so he wasn't available. No issue here. Moving on...
• Hiroki Kuroda checked out of New York's loss to the O's with a bruised right calf, and he finished with a brutal line (2.0 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 HR), but his injury isn't believed to be serious. Bullet dodged.