Rodney eager to move on from early struggles
LOS ANGELES -- Mariners closer Fernando Rodney had his second straight rough outing on Tuesday night, and this time it cost his team a win as the Dodgers scored twice in the ninth for a 6-5 walk-off win.
Rodney suffered his first blown save since July 20, snapping a streak of 23 straight saves. The 38-year-old endured an equally rugged outing Sunday, when he gave up four runs in a non-save situation in the ninth at Oakland, but Seattle battled back to win that one in the 10th inning.
There was no such chance for late heroics on Tuesday, as Howie Kendrick's bases-loaded, two-run single to right field ended the game and dropped Seattle to 3-5 on the season with its second straight walk-off loss at Dodger Stadium.
Rodney said his velocity and "stuff" are fine, but his location hasn't been sharp and the Dodgers made him pay. He gave up a pair of singles and then walked Adrian Gonzalez with one out to set up Kendrick's game-winner.
"My mechanics are not the problem," said Rodney, who led the Majors with 48 saves and was an American League All-Star last season. "I feel like I'm delivering the ball there. But a couple pitches I missed in the strike zone and, here, you can't miss."
Rodney said he pitched cautiously to Gonzalez, who is batting .548 in the first eight games of the season.
"I was trying to be careful. He's a hot hitter right now," he said. "You don't want to face this guy if you've got another guy behind him with a better chance to keep the game alive."
But Kendrick, his former teammate with the Angels, jumped on a first-pitch, 96-mph fastball and drove it the opposite way even as his bat shattered.
"I know he's a free swinger," Rodney said. "This guy comes to swing. Every pitch you leave in the strike zone, he's going to hit because he's a good hitter and very patient. At the same time, if you can make one good pitch, you can get a ground ball and get out of the inning.
"That pitch was a little high in the zone, and that's why he got good contact. You saw the broken bat. That pitch was not too bad, but he got good contact."
Rodney said he'll shake off his two bad outings and get back to work. He said he was keeping the ball down better in Spring Training and will look to get back to that groove.
"It's only eight games," he said. "I'm going to prepare myself for tomorrow and try to be ready, because I know I've got my stuff."