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Friday, Oct 31, 2014
Fennelly: Rays' Rodney simply too easy to figure out

He can run, but he can't hide.

The Rays can't hide him, either.

Fernando Rodney didn't wait to talk with media after his fifth blown save in what is only a 48-game-old season. It was out of character for a man who has been generally jolly since his arrival.

Jolly this.

More important, Rodney was missing, again, when it mattered most and where he was a historically mortal lock in 2012. Saturday, he coughed it up with two outs in the ninth inning against the Yankees, a pair of two-out runs to tie a game New York won in 11 innings, 4-3, smack dab in the middle of Fernando Rodney figurine weekend (blown saves sold separately).

If this guy owned a real bow and arrow right now, they'd be ducking from here to Homosassa.

Something is rotten in the state of Rodney. It's becoming a major disaster that begs for action, like Joe Maddon returning to closer by committee - only we've seen most of the committee members.

It was a grisly loss to the first-place Yanks. The Rays are back to .500 after losing for the first time when Matt Moore starts. Also, ABBA called. They want their song back.

Can you hear the drums, Fernando?

Here's how he fell apart this time:

After getting two easy outs, then coming within one strike of the save and a Rays win, Rodney walked Lyle Overbay, balked him to second, gave up a check-swing RBI double to pinch-hitter Brennan Boesch, then a looping, game-tying single to Brett Gardner.

The nightmare continues. Make it 6.05 - that's Rodney's ERA, not his jeans. If he blows a few more saves, the Lightning will sign him to play goalie.

Here's the scary thing:

It isn't even surprising anymore.

If this was last season, if Jake McGee was lights out like in 2012, he'd be my closer right now. But McGee isn't that McGee. And Kyle Farnsworth is no factor anymore. And Joel Peralta, Maddon correctly notes, is already doing a lot of the heavy lifting. You can move Rodney around, but you've still got to use him, even if he's increasingly useless.

All this also makes Saturday's other closer even more remarkable. Fernando Rodney is a season. Mariano Rivera is a career. The great Rivera closed Saturday out quickly, summarily, after Overbay's homer off Josh Lueke in the 11th. It was Rivera's 18th save in 18th attempts in this, his farewell season, and his 62nd against the Rays in 64 chances.

Now back to the Rays guy, an abject figurine at this point.

"It would be really difficult to go through all the really close moments he's been giving up some two-out, two-strike hits that have hurt us," Maddon said. "I'm certain that it's cut into his confidence a bit."

It's cutting into his team's season.

"Definitely, just taking care of business, we would be in pretty good shape right now," Maddon said.

Nothing can wreck a ballclub like a shaky closer. Maddon and the Rays are nearly out of wiggle room.

It doesn't matter if Rodney is coming oh, so close, one strike away, or whatever. He's not getting it done.

They need to think about shuffling the deck. They need to consider Peralta. If only McGee had last year's game. It would be a no-brainer. The real problem is the bullpen has been lousy in general. It's like rearranging hogs at the trough right now. Does anyone have a home or work number for Troy Percival?

"If it's save situation tomorrow, and everything flows, you'll see Fernando out there," Maddon said.

Go figurine.