Arizona Diamondbacks: Rodney implodes in second, straight outing
By Mark Brown
Manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks said Fernando Rodney remains his closer.
Since the start of spring training, manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks tells listeners that his team functions as one, unified unit. Perhaps overworked to a particular degree, Lovullo likes to use the word “family” to describe the bonding of the current edition of the Diamondbacks.
If there was a time or opportunity to demonstrate this feeling, that occurred on Saturday. On a day when the Diamondbacks received the news that starting pitcher Shelby Miller will undergo season-ending surgery, there was a concerted effort to pick up their teammate.
More than both the need and desire to come to Miller’s side, perhaps a greater necessity is to pick up closer Fernando Rodney. Imploding for the second straight relief appearance, Rodney entered Saturday’s game with a two-run lead in the ninth. By the time he fanned Gerado Parra to end the frame, Rodney allowed three runs and took the loss in a difficult and frustrating 7-6 defeat to the Colorado Rockies before 30,445 in Chase Field.
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Rodney, whose ERA has now ballooned to 12.80 in 11 appearances, entered last Wednesday’s game against the San Diego Padres also with a two-run, ninth inning lead. There, he gave up a three-run homer to Ryan Schimpf to open the door in that one. On Saturday, he surrendered bases-loaded, two out single to Mark Reynolds to tie the game and then tossed a wild pitch which allowed Carlos Gonzalez to score the winning run from third.
Afterward, Rodney acknowledged the difficulty of closing games, and explained to Venom Strikes the inherit frustration when the task at hand does not end well.
"I have my confidence, but also know that closing is a tough job. At this point, all I do is keep fighting and be ready for tomorrow."
After pitching around Gonzalez, Rodney told Venom Strikes he was looking for Reynolds to hit the ball on the ground. That’s what happened, but Reynolds’ ball found a way between Jake Lamb at third and Nick Ahmed at short and into left field. Then, Rodney uncorked that wild pitch and sent his teammates into doldrums.
Despite Rodney’s implosion in his last two appearances, the confidence from Lovullo remains strong. That’s the impression for now. Going forward, Lovullo told Venom Strikes that Rodney remains his closer.
"Before his last two outings, (Rodney) was six for six in save situations. Now, he’s six for eight and in our discussion, we’ll take into account his entire body of work."
Lost in Rodney’s meltdown was the effort by starter Zack Greinke. While not stellar, Greinke supplied enough outs to reasonably hand this one over to the bullpen. Still, there could be concern because in his six innings of work, Greinke alowed three home runs allowed.
Flash back to opening night last year when Rox’. shortstop Trevor Story reached Greinke for a pair of homers and again on Saturday, Story found the bleachers leading off the third. Others bombs from Reynolds leading off the sixth and pinch hitter Alexi Amarista, as a pinch hitter leading off the seventh, were equally devastating. Overall, Greinke told Venom Strikes this defeat was difficult to accept.
"A loss is a loss, but this was one was tough. We’re in a stretch of the schedule where everyone is tough. The Rockies are in first place, we’re going to Washington and they’re swinging the bats well. We’ll have to pick up some wins over the next few days."
Break out the tape measure
When third baseman Jake Lamb slammed a two-run homer in the fifth, the ball nearly landed in a neighboring zip code.
The ball carried an estimated 481 feet to right-center field and represented the fifth longest homer by a Diamondbacks player in Chase Field history. The blast was the sixth longest in stadium history. Lamb’s tape-measure shot is also the longest homer in the majors this season.
How about some history
After Archie Bradley fanned Colorado catcher Tony Wolters to end the eighth inning, that was the 11th strikeout by an Arizona pitcher in the game.
With those 11ks, the Diamondbacks became the first team in National League history to record 11 or more strikeouts in six consecutive games. The 2014 Cleveland Indians recorded a string of 11ks or more in seven straight games, the major-league record.
The series with the Colorado Rockies, and the current home stand wraps up Sunday. afternoon.
That’s when lefty Patrick Corbin (2-3, 3.10 ERA) takes on rookie right-hander German Marquez (0-1, 18.00) Then, it’s off on a two-city, six game trip.
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Following an off-day Monday, the Diamondbacks open a three-game set in Washington and then three with the Rockies next weekend in Denver. The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field on Tuesday May 9 to face the Detroit Tigers.