Last season, Rays closer Fernando Rodney was as close to automatic as he gets. He set a new single-season record with a 0.60 ERA while going 48-for-50 in save opportunities, so, naturally, he blew his very first save opportunity of 2013.
Entrusted with a one-run lead against the Orioles, the 36-year-old Rodney walked Nolan Reimold on eight pitches before surrendering a game-tying double to Brian Roberts. He allowed one earned run in the span of two batters on Wednesday after allowing five earned runs to 282 batters last summer.
There are two ways to look at this:
- Overreaction: Rodney was unsustainably good last year and regression is a bitch.
- Logically: It was one bad game and Rodney earned the benefit of the doubt after last season.
I lean toward the latter, but Rodney really only has the one elite season in a career of mostly mediocrity. I do think it is interesting he pitched in winter ball and during the World Baseball Classic. I can't imagine throwing year-round is a good idea for a guy his age, but what do I know.