K-Rod owns first blown save chance as a Tiger
Francisco Rodriguez wasn’t finishing his pitches, he said, and he paid for it. In that sense, his first opportunity as Tigers closer brought back memories of the bullpen struggles that led Detroit to acquire him last November.
His thoughts on his blown save Tuesday at Miami, on the other hand, were pretty well finished. In that sense, he made his struggles a little bit easier to take.
“It’s pretty obvious I got hit around pretty good,” Rodriguez said after the 8-7 win. “Every pitch was pretty much up over the middle of the zone.
“It was frustrating. You prepare yourself for 4 1/2, five months and the first time of the gate you get that. But hey, it’s behind. At the end of the day, we come back and win the ballgame. Just have to prepare for tomorrow.”
Rodriguez wasn’t missing the strike zone. He threw 14 of his 19 pitches for strikes, so he made hitters beat him. But in leaving pitches in the middle of the strike zone, he left pitches for them to hit.
“It’s disappointing,” he said. “Obviously I’m surprised. I don’t remember the last time I got knocked around like that, four base hits in a row. And they squared the ball pretty good. They weren’t like bloop singles, anything like that. You just have to turn the page now, get them tomorrow.”
Actually, the first two hits had some bloop qualities. A soft line drive leadoff single from Martin Prado and a J.T. Realmuto chopper that bounced over Andrew Romine’s head brought the tying run to the plate.
“I think the only pitch I made the entire night was the ball that bounced,” Rodriguez said. “That’s the only pitch that honestly I feel like I made out of 19 pitches.”
After Realmuto’s chopper, they weren’t bouncing. Justin Upton made a lunging catch at the fence, turning Adeiny Hechavarria’s line drive into a sac fly. One out away from closure, Rodriguez got a one-two combination that knocked him down. Derek Dietrich and Dee Gordon hit hard line-drive RBI doubles to tie the game.
“I didn’t make my pitches,” Rodriguez said. “I had four opportunities to make one pitch and I didn’t. Everything was up over the middle of the zone.”
His quotes consistently ended with the point that he’ll put the outing behind him and move on. But he won’t move on easily before thinking about it.
“Definitely it’s painful,” he said. “I’ll go out there now and go to sleep thinking about it. Honestly, I’m not going to be able to sleep. The game’s going to continue in the back of my head. But once the game starts tomorrow, everything has to be behind you.”