A’s bullpen woes might net Rodriguez a bigger role

The A's are hoping Fernando Rodriguez will become an asset out of the bullpen. 

Joe Camporeale/Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The story of the 2015 Oakland A’s so far is pitching – but it’s not a pretty story.

The 12-18 A’s have stumbled on the mound, from the starting staff to the bullpen. The relief corps in particular has been especially ineffective, and it’s become a big concern for Bob Melvin and his coaching staff. How rough has it been? Well, there’s this tweet from Wednesday night (when the A’s lost 13-0):

That’s why the two scoreless innings from Fernando Rodriguez on Thursday afternoon left such a big impression on the team. Rodriguez, 30, was acquired back in 2013 in the Jed Lowrie trade and was called up to Oakland this week when the team designated reliever Chad Smith for assignment on Wednesday. 

Said Melvin to John Hickey of Inside the A’s regarding the relief situation on the A’s after a tough series in Minnesota that found them losing three of four:

“Anybody who comes out of there right now pitching good, we’re going to look for more of an extended role,’’ the manager said.

Rodriguez was on a roll with Triple-A Nashville before his call-up, a hot streak he attributed to a slight change in his delivery:

“It took me two weeks to find it, but I did,’’ Rodriguez said. “I was being too aggressive with my leg kick and it was throwing everything off. I’ve calmed down with the kick.’’

While the A’s continue to wait for closer Sean Doolittle to be fully rehabbed from his rotator cuff injury, they need the bullpen to step up and support an offense that is tied for second in the Major Leagues in runs scored (with 140). 

The A’s probably shouldn’t be 12-18, considering how potent the offense has been at times, so they will likely look to Rodriguez (with fingers crossed) to be an asset for the later innings.

(h/t Inside the A’s)