So Fernando Rodney was not exactly at his best against the Red Sox on Thursday night.
Asked to protect a two-run ninth-inning lead, Rodney immediately issued a pair of free passes. Nine of the first 11 pitches he threw were non-strikes. He eventually loaded the bases via walk, then gave up a two-out, three-run double to Will Middlebrooks. And then he walked Jarrod Saltalamacchia, just to prove the first three BBs weren't flukes.
Rodney's final fantasy line was a big steaming mess...
Yup, you're reading those ratios correctly: 40.50, 7.50. Some of us are hurting today.
Thursday's blown save was Rodney's third of the season in just 10 chances. In his 15.1 innings so far, he's already issued as many walks (15) as he did in 76 appearances last year. Velocity isn't a problem for Fernando — he hit 100 on the gun against Boston — but location certainly is.
For now, however, his role seems safe. Here are a few of manager Joe Maddon's post-game comments, via the Tampa Bay Times:
"I don't have any solid answers," Maddon said. "We've discussed different things with him, trying to get him to replicate what he had been doing last year more closely, and I think he has. I thought we had worked through it and all of a sudden this bit us tonight.
"I'm not really concerned yet. I'm not running away from Fernando. We'll get him right."
Rodney had indeed converted his three prior save opportunities, with flair: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 7 Ks. He threw 35 pitches in Thursday's loss, we should note, so it's possible we could see a rogue save for Joel Peralta on Friday. If you're speculating on potential replacements, Peralta is the priority add — he's had the eighth inning role, and he's been lights-out (1.96 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 20 Ks, 18.1 IP).
We'll get through this difficult hour together, Fernando owners. Stay strong.
*fires imaginary arrow*