Astros ace Wandy Rodriguez gave up four runs — two earned — and walked five in 3 2/3 innings Thursday in a loss to the Mets. And this is what passes for one of his better spring outings.
The loss left Rodriguez 1-2 with an 8.10 ERA in three starts this spring. Since 2006, the left-hander is 4-17 with a 7.44 ERA during Grapefruit League action. He’s allowed 96 runs — 86 earned — in 104 innings. During that same timeframe, he’s 63-65 with a 3.89 ERA in the regular season.
What makes it especially odd is that Rodriguez turns it on the moment the regular season starts. April is actually his best month, as he has a 3.17 ERA in 28 career starts. His next best ERA in any month is a 3.81 mark in July.
So, next time Wandy says he’s just working on a pitch after one of his poor spring outings, one should probably take him at his word. It’s not at all unusual for pitchers to post lousy spring ERAs and then get it going once the opening bell rings, but no one does it quite as consistently as Rodriguez.
The Dodgers only need one more win to clinch the NL pennant and advance to a World Series showdown against the Red Sox, but they might not get that chance tonight. Following David Freese‘s leadoff home run off of Milwaukee left-hander Wade Miley, the Brewers erupted for four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead.
In his second start of the NLCS, Dodgers’ southpaw Hyun-Jin Ryu had a two-on, two-out situation when Jesus Aguilar came up to the plate in the first inning. Aguilar worked a 2-1 count against Ryu, then lashed a two-run line drive double to right field, bringing both Lorenzo Cain and Ryan Braun home to score. In the next at-bat, Mike Moustakas drove in Aguilar with a first-pitch double to right, while Erik Kratz‘s RBI single topped off the Brewers’ four-run spread to give them an early 4-1 advantage.
Ryu didn’t get a reprieve for long. In the second, Christian Yelich and Braun went back-to-back with another pair of doubles to advance the Brewers 5-1 above their National League rivals. The lefty was pulled after just three innings of seven-hit, five-run, three-strikeout ball — per MLB.com’s Bill Shaikin, it marked just the second time the 31-year-old had given up four or more runs in a start this season.
The Dodgers started to work their way back in the fifth inning: Freese returned with an RBI double that plated Brian Dozier, who scooted around from first and easily beat the tag at the plate to score the Dodgers’ second run of the night. Together, the teams have combined for five doubles in five innings. The Brewers still lead in the fifth, 5-2.