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 Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.