Francisco Rodriguez pitches at Comerica park.

Detroit Tigers: Brad Ausmus Defending Francisco Rodriguez Is Ridiculous, It’s Time For A Change At Closer

The Detroit Tigers’ press conferences following a game they lost due to a Francisco Rodriguez blown save are getting pretty old, and sadly they’re getting too predictable.

According to a Freep report, Rodriguez blew his third save of the season on Saturday night against the Oakland A’s. With two out and no one on base, K-Rod committed the cardinal sin of walking a batter. The walk was followed by a double and a walk-off single and once again the Detroit Tigers grabbed defeat from the hands of victory.

Now, one thing baseball fans can all agree on is that the season is a long grind and you can’t give up on anyone too quickly. However, you also can’t leave a guy in who is struggling beyond belief, and in the case of K-Rod the Detroit Tigers need to make a move now. Unless of course finishing.500 or so and missing out on the postseason is acceptable.

Francisco Rodriguez of the Detroit Tigers pitches at Comerica Park on Opening Day 2017.
Francisco Rodriguez has struggled in the closer role in 2017. Should Brad Ausmus make a change? [Image by Leon Halip/Getty Images]

Hearing Brad Ausmus in the Detroit Tigers’ press conferences say that he is very confident in Francisco Rodriguez, along with hearing the bought and paid for media on the local radio explain to people how there is going to be a lot of ups and downs during the course of a season is really getting old – and actually it’s insulting to Detroit Tigers fans who are some of the most knowledgeable in baseball.

“As it goes forward, we haven’t had any discussions about doing anything or closing anyone else other than Frankie,” Ausmus said. “Until we decide otherwise, he’s going to be our closer.”

Ausmus saying he is confident in K-Rod is almost as frightening as when he took out Anibal Sanchez in a playoff game against the Baltimore Orioles in 2014. Sanchez threw 30 pitches in relief, 20 for strikes, and was on fire. But of course in true “new baseball,” Sanchez had to come out.

Pitch counts, set up men, and players being tabbed the “8th inning guy” are all a waste of time. Sometimes you just have to use your gut and common sense. If a guy is rolling, why mess with success?

Memo to Detroit Tigers management: Right now K-Rod is not pitching good, so make the change Brad.

The stats speak for themselves. Rodriguez has allowed a run in seven of his 12 appearances this season. He has allowed 17 hits and four walks in 11-1/3 innings. He has three losses and three blown saves. Those numbers are downright frightening for a guy who is supposed to be your closer.

Where in the world does it say this in the MLB rule book.

“The Detroit Tigers must put K-Rod in for the ninth inning no matter what. Even if the previous pitcher had faced only three batters in the 8th inning and strikes them all out.”

The Detroit Tigers have some very good young arms in the bullpen, and it is time to start using them more in key situations.

Blaine Hardy (2.16 ERA), Alex Wilson (2.25) and the currently red hot Justin Wilson (1.42) all deserve a shot at closing. The Tigers aren’t going to send K-Rod packing, and truthfully they shouldn’t. However, when a position player is struggling, what do most managers do? They give them a day or two off to relax and get their mind off the game.

Justin Wilson pitches at Comerica Park for the Detroit Tigers.
Justin Wilson has been great for the Detroit Tigers so far in 2017. [Image by Duane Burleson/Getty Images]

So why not do the same with Francisco Rodriguez?

K-Rod is a veteran who has had a great career and could be very beneficial for the Tigers in the postseason. After all, nothing replaces experience and Rodriguez has plenty of postseason play under his belt. However, to make it to the playoffs, the Detroit Tigers can’t continue to give away games in the final inning.

[Featured Image by Leon Halip/Getty Images]

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