Rodney may be getting closer to resuming role as Mariners' closer
Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon gave Fernando Rodney a bit of a break as the M's closer in early June, after a series of disastrous outings forced his hand.
However, Rodney is excelling in a smaller role out of the M's bullpen, McClendon admitted to Bob Dutton of the News Tribune, and it might affect how he manages his relief corps moving forward.
Young reliever Carson Smith has stepped up and performed well in the ninth inning, but McClendon noted that Smith's potential inability to pitch consecutive games (or three straight, if so required) might result in an adjustment: “I’ve said all along the biggest question with Carson is the ability to go back-to-back and, sometimes, back-to-back-to-back (or) three out of five. I will say this: Probably on days when Smith can not go, you might see Rodney or a combination of Rodney and somebody else.”
So what's made Rodney more effective in a less stressful role? McClendon told Dutton why that's been the case: “A lot of ground balls. A lot of strikes. Adding and subtracting from the fastball. Slowing down and letting the arm catch up. He’s close...Listen, we need Fernando Rodney if we're going to be successful this year. I think he's well on his way back to being that pitcher that we all want him to be...When he's hitting his spots, he can get easy outs."