Brian Wilson tweaks his ankle, gets out of jam in the ninth

8 Comments

Brian Wilson escaped with a save Thursday after allowing a run in the Giants’ 4-2 win over the Rockies. Unfortunately, he tweaked his ankle in the process and is expected to miss at least one game.

Wilson probably wasn’t going to be available Friday regardless, considering that he threw 32 pitches while giving up a run on three hits and a walk today. He’s allowed a run in both of his appearances thus far.

Wilson should be a lesser concern than Tim Lincecum for the Giants right now, but he’s still not showing quite as much velocity as he possessed before running into elbow problems last year. He threw mostly sliders in his first appearance, and when he went to the fastball today, it got hit.

Fortunately, the Giants are in great position to cover a down year from Wilson if that’s how it works out. Sergio Romo is as tough on righties as any reliever in the game, and Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez make for an excellent supporting cast. The Giants also have a very good relief prospect in Heath Hembree who could be a factor come June or July.

Struggling Francisco Rodriguez’s job seems to be secure

David Maxwell/Getty Images
1 Comment

Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.

Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”

“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”

Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.

The Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
1 Comment

Don’t look now, but the Nationals have the best record in baseball at 16-6. They’re coming off a 10-game road trip in which they went 9-1, including sweeps of the Braves and Mets and a 3-1 series against the Rockies at Coors Field. During that series with the Rockies, the Nationals scored 46 runs, which is nearly as many as the Royals (54) have scored all season long. The Nats scored double-digits in all three wins.

The first game at Coors, an 8-4 loss, saw a three-hit game from Anthony Rendon and a homer from Ryan Zimmerman.

The second game featured Trea Turner hitting for the cycle and driving in seven runs. Daniel Murphy had three hits and five RBI.

The third game saw Turner finish a triple short of the cycle. Bryce Harper had four hits. Zimmerman had three hits including a homer. Murphy homered, too.

The fourth game featured homers from Adam Eaton, Harper, and Murphy. Seven members of the lineup had multiple hits and six had multiple RBI including pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

The series helped the Nationals bring their run differential to +34, the best in the National League. The Yankees are the only team with a better differential at +35.

Indeed, the Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field. They return home to open up a three-game set with the ailing Mets on Friday night.