Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez blew his fourth save of the season on Sunday as the Athletics walked off 8-6 winners. Rodriguez started the bottom of the ninth inning in Oakland tasked with preserving a one-run lead, but walked Rajai Davis, allowed a game-tying double, then served up the walk-off two-run home run to Ryon Healy.
The Athletics also defeated the Tigers in walk-off fashion on Saturday, with Adam Rosales hitting a walk-off two-run single off of Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, 35, now has an ugly 8.49 ERA with a 13/5 K/BB ratio in 11 2/3 innings thus far. One wonders if this latest outing will prompt manager Brad Ausmus to take Rodriguez out of the closer’s role. Justin Wilson in particular has pitched well enough to merit the official role as closer, as he has a 1.42 ERA with a 21/4 K/BB ratio in 12 2/3 innings. Shane Greene (1.74 ERA) and Alex Wilson (2.25 ERA) have also pitched well in relief.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”