Why Rodney in the 8th

That question came up after the Royals’ three-run eighth inning off Fernando Rodney, providing the Royals the margin to make the Tigers’ ninth-inning rally irrelevant and further ballooning Rodney’s numbers in non-save situations. Manager Jim Leyland pointed to two things: Rodney hadn’t pitched since Friday, and with a three-game suspension looming, there’s a chance Rodney won’t pitch for a few days down the road. Whether that means Rodney is going to take a suspension anytime soon isn’t clear.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen with this suspension,” Leyland said, “and you can’t let him sit there too long. Because if all of a sudden there’s a hearing on the appeal and they don’t drop some [games], he could go a long time without pitching.”

With that in mind, and with the Tigers on the road, Leyland switched his reliever roles for a day. Rodney was going to pitch the eighth inning, win or lose, and if the Tigers headed into the ninth inning with a lead, Brandon Lyon would be the closer for a day. It was a temporary shift, Leyland emphasized, not something long term.

There’s one major consideration to keep in mind when debating whether those add-on runs off Rodney cost them the game. Without them, Joakim Soria would’ve started the ninth inning instead of coming in after Jamey Wright loaded the bases.

“It’s good Fernando got back out there,” Leyland said. “I hope we have a chance to have him save the game tomorrow.”

4 Comments

For some reason, I thought Rodney had already begun his suspension while it was being appealed. I should know better. MLB won’t make a decision that fast. I do believe the suspension was definitely unwarranted. A fine, maybe 1 day would have been enough. Now, he’s sort of under this cloud and it’s distracting. The Rick Porcello suspension, I would have really appealed. Both of these suspensions are/were way over the top. imo.

Can we please get out of Kansas City with a win!

“You don’t know what’s going to happen with this suspension,” Leyland said, “and you can’t let him sit there too long. Because if all of a sudden there’s a hearing on the appeal and they don’t drop some [games], he could go a long time without pitching.”
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There needs to be some hard and fast rules laid out on this appeals process. Holding it at the whim of Bob Watson (or whoever) in MLB leaves the issue open to accusations of favoritism, east coast bias, what have you. Maybe that kind of thing doesn’t happen but you don’t want to leave it open for discussion. Let’s say we arrive in Minnesota next weekend and MLB chooses that time to refuse the appeal and the suspension starts. That’s bad business and opens up a big can of worms.
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And the point isn’t whether we think Rodney is a good closer or not. The bottom line is that MLB is dealing with a team’s closer in the heat of the stretch drive. If it was Rivera or Nathan, it would be a huge deal.
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Obviously if Rodney doesn’t allow those 8th inning runs, we don’t necessarily load the bases in the 9th. Once you go back and change history, the entire universe disappears. I learned that on Star Trek. :-)
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If we win today, we’ll have had a highly successful 4-2 road trip. I think anyone would have taken that.
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–Rich

For what it’s worth, when Chad Qualls’ suspension was upheld two years ago, the ruling came about four weeks after the initial suspension.

Jason here is a question for you. Lets say it is a month before the the league decides what they want to do with Rodney and we do make it into the playoffs. Would the suspension have to be served during the playoffs or would it start next year??
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Isn’t it amazing for how good I felt two days ago with this team, I look at the standings now and I see 5 1/2 game lead over the Twins and 6 1/2 over the White Soxs. I feel a lot less comfortable now than even this time yesterday. Not as much with the White Soxs but I see that the Twins are going to be playing Oakland at home, Cleveland at home, and Detroit at home in the next week. While we will be playing Toronto , KC (which we have proven that we cannot beat this week) and then to the God Blessed last time at that stupid, dome in Minnesota. This lead could be lost real quick like.
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Is anyone as uncomfortable as I am??
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GK

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