Francisco Rodriguez pitched two innings in last night’s loss, but Mets manager Jerry Manuel assured reporters after the game that his high-priced closer would be “ready to go” in the series finale tonight. After all, he’d thrown “less than 30 pitches”. Apparently, had Rodriguez thrown 30 or more, he’d have received a day off.
I’d love to have seen Manuel and Dan Warthen hunched over a calculator banging out that formula for bullpen success.
For those keeping score, K-Rod threw 16 pitches in a meaningless 7-0 victory on Sunday night vs. the Nationals, had a day off, threw 20 pitches on Tuesday, and 21 pitches last night, for a total of 57 pitches over four days. We can’t predict K-Rod’s pitch count if he goes tonight, but we know he’s averaging about 16 pitches per inning. Assuming he gets into the game and throws that many, Frankie will have expended 57 pitches in three straight days, and 73 over five days. We know he doesn’t “let up” on any pitch, so add in the high-stress factor of those tosses.
If indeed K-Rod pitches tonight, it would be the third time this season he threw three days in a row (not games, Jerry, days). Technically, it would be the fifth time, because he threw FOUR days in a row twice this year (May 4-7 & May 12-15 were the previous runs).
But K-Rod can handle it, right? Like fellow countryman Johan Santana, he’s a man, right?
Not sure. During last year’s record-breaking season, K-Rod threw in back-to-back-to-back days five times. April 13-15 (49 pitches); April 23-25 (32 pitches); June 2-4 (33 pitches); June 21-23 (41 pitches); August 28-30 (33 pitches). . He never threw for four days in a row in 2008, but he did do it once in 2007 — which was the only time that year he threw in as many as three consecutive days. That run was bookended by three days of rest prior, and four days’ rest afterward.
Which brings up a key note: whenever Angels manager Mike Scioscia rode K-Rod especially hard, he followed that up with 3-4 days’ rest. Jerry Manuel has thus far followed that pattern, as K-Rod was rested four days after each of his two four-game-straight marathons.
But, on Friday the Mets begin a three-game series with the Yankees. Do you think K-Rod is going to be held out all weekend?
The forecast calls for rain this afternoon, and thunderstorms through the evening, so the point may be moot. Still, the handling of Rodriguez is something that should be monitored, if we expect him to be at full strength later in the season.
For a comparison of how the top teams use their bullpens, Download The Bullpen Blueprint (it’s free!).