Rays manager Joe Maddon has said he feels comfortable with any of his relievers closing out the game, but after the first series of the season with the Yankees, it’s pretty clear who Maddon views as the replacement for Kyle Farnsworth.
Fernando Rodney finished out all three games, recording 2 saves and a win in three games. Yes, two of the saves he pitched just one out, but a save is a save.
“He’s pitched in the ninth,” said Maddon. “It just happened to be his moment, just based on the matchups.”
Last season’s closer, Kyle Farnsworth was placed on the DL last season with elbow problems. Maddon was reluctant to name a closer after Farnsworth went down, but his actions show different. Farnsworth is out 4-6 weeks.
Rodney picked up the win in Friday’s walk-off victory, recording thee outs during the 9th inning. The next day, Rodney needed just one pitch to record the save, getting Alex Rodriguez to ground out to end the game. Finally Sunday Rodney put the finishing touches on Jeremy Hellickson’s gem recording the final out for his 2nd save.
“Just take advantage,” Rodney said. “I made good pitches, and that’s what happens. I make good pitches, go out and close the game. … I feel really comfortable right now.”
The way Maddon has spoken, it seems like the Rays closer role will be a fluid situation that’s based a lot on matchups, however, for now Rodney seems like the guy. Look for others to get opportunities, but as long as Rodney pitches well, he does have the most experience on the staff as closer. He should be given the chance to take ahold of the role.