The Milwaukee Brewers have lost 11 of their last 13 games, which has dropped them to last place in the National League Central division. To add salt to the wound the Brewers also have the third worst record (16-22) in the league. Will reliever Francisco Rodriguez be able to bring his 2011 form and help restore confidence in Milwaukee?
The Brewers allowed their 30-day decision come down to the wire, but in the end, they decided to call up Rodriguez. The right-hander will join Milwaukee in the series finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday night.
To make room for K-Rod the Brewers will not send any relievers down to the minors, but instead will option catcher/first baseman Blake Lalli to Triple-A. Meanwhile, infielder Taylor Green has been moved to the 60-day disabled list and is ruled out for the season with a torn labrum in his hip.
Rodriguez was phenomenal for Milwaukee in 2011 in which he went 4-0 with a 1.86 earned run average, 33 strikeouts and 17 holds in 31 appearances after the All-Star break. Unfortunately, the Brewers did not have the same luck last season as K-Rod faltered. The 31-year-old posted a 2-7 record with a 4.38 ERA and a disappointing seven blown saves in 72 innings.
Obviously, Milwaukee is counting on Rodriguez pitching at the same high level everyone knows he is capable of doing. The good news is he appears to be slowly getting his stuff back.
“Velocity-wise he’s back up to, I don’t know if he’s quite where he was last year, but he’s 90-91,” manager Ron Roenicke said, according to Brewers.com. “The changeup has been good. I saw the outing two nights ago, and he got through the inning OK and then was better on Tuesday morning. So we’ll see.”
How Rodriguez will be used out of the bullpen is still up for discussion. With Jim Henderson seven for seven in save opportunities, the closer job is already filled. However, I believe K-Rod would be perfect in the setup role, especially since Milwaukee cannot find anyone to consistently handle it.