Fernando Rodriguez might make a name for himself after all, just not in a good way.
The Astros right-hander took his eighth relief loss after giving up two runs in the 10th inning Sunday against the Brewers. His ERA jumped to 6.61.
Rodriguez has 34 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings this season, but his poor pitching could get him demoted anyway. If so, he might avoid becoming just the eighth reliever since 2000 and first since 2008 to lose to 10 games:
Luis Ayala – 12 losses – 2004 Expos
Scot Shields – 11 losses – 2005 Angels
Luis Ayala – 10 losses – 2008 Nationals/Mets
Yhency Brazoban – 10 losses – 2005 Dodgers
Jose Jimenez – 10 losses – 2002 Rockies
Al Levine – 10 losses – 2001 Angels
Derek Lowe – 10 losses – 2001 Red Sox
Ayala (2.69) and Shields (2.75) both had great ERAs in the seasons in which they top the list, and Shields actually had 10 wins to go against his 11 losses. Ayala’s second 10-loss season was closer to what one might expect; he had a 5.71 ERA that year.
The major league record for relief losses in a season belongs to the Braves’ Gene Garber. He lost 16 games while throwing 106 innings in 1979. All of the 23 relievers to lose at least 12 games in a season did so while throwing at least 90 innings. In general, one has to be pretty good to get that much work in close games.
That doesn’t explain Rodriguez, though.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.