BY SPNW Staff 05:00PM 07/20/2014

One too many arrows for Rodney, Mariners lose

Fernando Rodney went to the quiver too early Sunday in Anaheim. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest file

Closer Fernando Rodney went to his quiver prematurely — once too often — and the Los Angeles Angels responded with a fatal arrow of their own Sunday in Anaheim in a 6-5 walk-off victory that denied Seattle a series victory. The Mariners blew a 5-3, eighth-inning lead, their bullpen unable to continue its long run of success.

After the Mariners took a 5-3 lead in the seventh, the big hit a Mike Zunino RBI-gapper, reliever Yoervis Medina surrendered a run in the bottom of the frame. Manager Lloyd McClendon brought on Rodney with out out in the eighth in the hope that he could record a five-out save. He started splendidly, retiring Chris Iannetta and Kole Calhoun.

After getting Calhoun on a fly ball, Rodney, who normally performs his ritual only after a save is secured, pulled an imaginary arrow out of his quiver and shot it into the Angels dugout.

“He must have thought it was the ninth inning,” Albert Pujols told reporters, although Rodney would have had to be comatose not to know that he entered the game in the eighth.

In the ninth, Rodney walked the formidable Mike Trout. Pujols then scorched a double down the right-field line, scoring Trout, who is so fast that he slid into second before getting up and scoring from first. As Pujols stood on second, obviously yukking, he imitated the arrow stunt at Rodney, who promptly gave up a single to Josh Hamilton.

Pujols later denied that his imaginary arrow was aimed at Rodney, even though TV cameras showed that it was.

Brushing that off, Rodney intentionally walked Howie Kendrick in order to get to David Freese, who hit into a 6-2-3 double play, the best outcome possible. But after intentionally walking Efren Navarro, who had the walk-off hit against the Mariners Friday night, Rodney served up a game-losing, walk-off single to the obscure Grant Green, making the Mariners losers of two out of three in their first series following the All-Star break.

“We came close,” McClendon said after his club played 37 innings in three days. “That’s baseball, it’s the way it goes. It was a tough loss, but we’ve had a lot of tough losses this year. We won’t dwell on it.

“I’m just very proud of how we went about our business here. We were within three outs of taking two out of three from the best team in baseball. We just didn’t get it done.”

Rodney entered as the American League’s leader in saves with 27, but wound up blowing his third save in 30 chances. Had he better negotiated the top of the Angels’ order in the ninth, the win would have gone to starter Chris Young, who pitched effectively despite allowing 10 hits.

Staked to a 3-0 lead after the Mariners collected five consecutive hits in the first inning with two outs, Young let the Angels back in when he allowed Josh Hamilton’s RBI double in the first and then served up back-to-back home runs to Calhoun and Trout in the third. But he settled down and wound up fanning seven, walking none and holding the Angels to 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

“It was a very gutty performance by Chris,” said McClendon. “He didn’t have his best command, but he hung in there and gave us six quality innings.”

Unfortunately for Young, Mariners hitters went into another deep freeze. After receiving Kyle Seager’s 16th homer and RBI singles from Corey Hart and Dustin Ackley, the Mariners didn’t get another hit until the seventh.It was a big seventh.

After Corey Hart led off with a walk, James Jones pinch ran, took second on a ground ball out by Dustin Ackley, and scored on Zunino’s gapper to left center that halted an 0-for-25 skid. Endy Chavez then served up a two-out single to left for the 5-3 lead.

But Medina couldn’t protect it and Rodney couldn’t save it, preventing the Mariners (52-46), who went 4-for-9 with runners in scoring position, from moving three games ahead of Cleveland (lost Sunday) for the second AL wild card spot.

With two walk-off losses in their past three games, the Mariners dropped six such contests this season. Last year, they led the American League with 13 walk-off defeats.

Sunday marked the first time since May 2-4 vs. Houston that the Mariners played three consecutive one-run games.


McClendon kept All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano out of Sunday’s lineup due to hamstring stiffness. Cano had an eight-game hitting streak snapped Saturday night. Willie Bloomquist started in his place and went 0-for-4 . . . McClendon also kept Danny Farquhar on the bench Sunday to rest him after recent over work . . . The Mariners have yet to name a starter for Tuesday’s game against the Mets. McClendon said the club will probably “call someone up” from the minor leagues to make the start, although reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, who has made one start this season, remains an option . . . After losing Sunday, the Mariners are 4-5 in rubber games, 26-16 against teams with +.500 records and 16-12 against clubs that are currently in a playoff position.

NEXT: The Mariners return to Safeco Field Monday night to begin a three-game series with the New York Mets. LHP Roenis Elias (7-8, 4.54) will throw for Seattle. The Mets have yet to name a starter.




  • Long-Time Mariners Fan

    Memo to Fernando Rodney: Las flechas – no mas. Haga su trabajo.

    Translation: No more arrows. Do your job.

    • Trygvesture

      Hey– give HIM a break– he’s been one of the few doing his job. I love the arrows: he’s one of the few who decides to have fun in the game. We’ve got a few MLBers: Cano, Iwa, Felix. Gripe about showboating, big talk, play my guys no matter their performance Z. Or about the guys who just can’t get their heads on in way that MLB players have to do in order to perform up here.
      Check out this for a delightful reminder: The Battered Bastards of Baseball (just on Netflix, I think). It’s new. It’s great. It’s true. It’s a surprise in many ways. The game needs more Rodneys, not less. Great reminder shown here…

      • RadioGuy

        I want to see that movie, too, but to be able to get away with what the Portland Mavericks used to, you have to be better than your competition as much as they were (and I saw the Mavs play at Sicks Stadium…more than once).

        Nothing wrong playing with flair or even a chip on your shoulder (see Seahawks, Seattle), but you don’t spike the football when you’re ten yards away from the end-zone.

        • art thiel

          Even old-school McClendon acknowledged today it’s entertainment.

          • jafabian

            Maybe we can get a rivalry like what the Seahawks have with SF. The M’s could use that kind of excitement.

    • art thiel

      He has been doing his job. Think the Seahawks care that Colin Kaepernick kisses his biceps?

      • Long-Time Mariners Fan

        No, but you know who does care that Colin K. kisses his biceps? A 49ers fan on Super Bowl Sunday. And that fan is not happy.

        Imagine two wide receivers on two different teams. Both sleep eight hours and spend 16 hours on football. Receiver A spends 13 hours on catching the ball and scoring, and three hours working on his Touchdown Dance(tm). Receiver B spends 16 hours working on catching the ball and scoring. When he scores, he hands the ball to the referee and returns to the bench.

        Which receiver do you want on your team?

        Panache means nothing if it doesn’t win ballgames. (Or in this case, save ballgames.) Can you celebrate? Yes, after the final out is recorded. However (and this is key), the BEST time to celebrate, to cut loose, to let loose the arrow, to deride the “sorry receiver” for coming up against “the best corner in the game?” When you’ve finally won the absolute last game of the season. Not before.

        Look up “hubris” in the dictionary. Find the countless examples in history and literature of those who didn’t look it up.

  • Bart Simpson’s Cowabunga

    Rodney: Jiveass.

    One thing you NEVER do is showboat in an opponent’s park before you have the victory locked down.

    Something else an All-Star closer never does: Walks the lead-off hitter in the bottom of the 9th in a one-run game. By the time he’d loaded them up, all I wanted to see was a walk-off grand salami by the Angels. Something to teach Rodney to STFU until he’s actually saved the game.

    “We came close,” McClendon said.

    Yeah. That and eleven bucks will buy you a beer at Safeco.

    • art thiel

      I doubt that it made any difference in the outcome. Pujols is going to
      be a better hitter because of a silly gesture by a guy he’s been friends
      with for 15 years? Having said that, it was foolish to provoke, just
      for the optics. With two teams as dead-even as these, why take even a
      .0001% chance?

      • Edgar Martinez

        I think it very well may have affected the ump and his calls. There was a fastball that looked to be on the outside corner to Trout that had been called a strike all game that was called a ball. If the ump saw the arrow thing and thought he was being an ass, chances may be he wasn’t going to be getting those borderline pitches. So Rodney’s antics could have absolutely affected the outcome of the game considering Trout ended up walking and scoring the tying run.

      • Bart Simpson’s Cowabunga

        Pujols is going to step up his game in the bottom of the 9th when he has nobody out and a guy like Trout already on base because Rodney walked him! When computing percentages, best to remember that old maxim: “A lead-off walk comes around to score 99% of the time. Unless he doesn’t.”

  • RadioGuy

    I can’t think of anything to top what L-TMF and Cowabunga conjured up, so I’ll just go with “What they said.” Confidence is a good thing in any game (sports and everything else), but common sense is even better.

  • jafabian

    I was leary of Rodney going into the game in the 8th when he pitched the previous night. Still amused at all this. I get where the Angels are coming from but they’re still underperforming. If the Rangers weren’t hit by the injury bug so hard they’d be in 3rd. Let’s see where they are at the end of the season. Can’t wait for Rodney to get a save against them and see what he does.

    • art thiel

      Angels will finish ahead of the Mariners — by more than an imaginary arrow.

  • Big

    The shot arrow doesn’t always hit the mark. William Tell, and now add Fernando Rodney.

  • Kirkland

    Tempted to put an image of the “Arrow” superhero on the TV show, giving his “You have failed this city!” catchphrase to a villain. Problem is, I have no idea how to make a GIF, so here’s YouTube:

  • Eric K

    I think the bigger problem was trying to get more than an inning out of a closer, they have been conditioned for one inning for so long it messes them up when they go more, Rivera being one of the only recent exceptions, and he didn’t do it often.

    Given the two extra inning games they didn’t have much choice, but facing Trout and Pujols isn’t the ideal time to try the stretch the closer experiment.