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OC Register: Chris Rodriguez shines in middle innings as Angels beat Rangers


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Chris Rodriguez continues to audition for a more prominent role within the Angels’ pitching staff.

It remains to be seen which role that will be.

Rodriguez dominated over 10 critical outs after a short start by Alex Cobb, helping the Angels to a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night in Arlington, Texas.

Taking over in the third inning, Rodriguez did not allow a run in the longest outing of his young big league career. He struck out one, walked one and gave up one hit. He threw 42 pitches, one more than his previous high.

Rodriguez has a 2.45 ERA after seven big league games, on the strength of a 97 mph two-seam fastball that hitters either miss or pound into the ground.

Manager Joe Maddon suggested last week that Rodriguez could eventually start, because of the development of his changeup, or he could move back toward the end of the bullpen, pitching in high leverage spots.

Moving Rodriguez into the rotation this season could be problematic simply because of the innings jump that would require. He missed almost all of 2018 and 2019 because of a back injury, and he only pitched in intrasquad games in 2020 when the minor league season was canceled.

Maddon has been careful to give Rodriguez at least two days off after each outing, and once he felt he pushed him as far as he could go on Wednesday, the Angels still needed 11 outs from their bullpen.

Tony Watson threw one pitch to get a double play to escape the sixth, and then a perfect seventh. Mike Mayers worked around two baserunners in the eighth, striking out red hot Adolis Garcia to end the inning.

Closer Raisel Iglesias then worked the ninth for the save, locking up a victory that seemed like it would be a lot easier when the Angels scored four runs in the top of the first.

Anthony Rendon, who had been hitless in his first eight at-bats after coming off the injured list, drilled an opposite-field single to drive in two runs.

José Iglesias then yanked a single into left, driving in two more to put the Angels ahead, 4-0.

Although Cobb had that lead before he threw his first pitch, he still couldn’t give the Angels what they wanted, partly because of some bad luck.

He gave up a run in the first on an infield hit after a double. In the second, he gave up two clean singles, but then two runs scored on softly hit singles with two outs.

More to come on this story.

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I wonder if the team will consider optioning him after outings like this and bringing up a replacement pitcher. If they option him for just 10 or so days across the course of the season, they pick up another year of club control. I am sure that isn’t lost on the front office. 

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7 minutes ago, wopphil said:

I wonder if the team will consider optioning him after outings like this and bringing up a replacement pitcher. If they option him for just 10 or so days across the course of the season, they pick up another year of club control. I am sure that isn’t lost on the front office. 

If you’re optioned for less than 20 days you get credit for the service time while you’re down. 

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How about this idea?

Canning clearly needs to work on some thing.

Send him down to AAA and call up Pena.

Insert CRod into Canning’s spot in the rotation and start him off at 50 pitches in first start with Pena as the tandem pitcher.

With Canning sent down, no relievers have to be sent down to get Pena activated.

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I agree with you, AO, and was going to say something similar. In fact, I wonder if the longer appearance is a hint that they want to stretch him out a bit. 

While I realize that moving from relief to starting is challenging, I don't really agree with this sentence from the article: "Moving Rodriguez into the rotation this season could be problematic simply because of the innings jump that would require."

Or rather, it is true that it could be problematic, but it implies that moving from one to the other involves an "innings jump," as if CRod will be going from pitching 1-2 innings one day, 5-6 the next. Why not a more gradual approach? Have him pitch ~3 innings (he already pitched 3.1) for the next appearance or three, then, if they send Canning down, have him do a 2019-style start, pitching the first 3-4 innings of a game, gradually building up.

So it doesn't have to be an abrupt "innings jump," but more of an innings climb.

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42 minutes ago, AngelsWin.com said:

Q: Will we see Chris Rodriguez start at some point? — @epalitofuerte

A: Many of you asked some version of this question, clearly believing that the best in-house solution to the rotation problem is Rodriguez.

Manager Joe Maddon said last week that Rodriguez does have the arsenal to be a starter in the future, but he reiterated after Wednesday’s game that it might be problematic to try to get him into the rotation this year.

He hasn’t thrown more than 42 pitches in a game, so it would take some time to stretch him out. Also, they don’t want to jump his innings too much after he had pitched just 9-1/3 innings in the previous three seasons.

 

 

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