Avoiding a Total Meltdown, K-Rod Solidifies His Role with Mets

May 6, 2009

On his way out towards the mound last night in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez looked up at the score and noticed that his team was up by three runs. For Rodriguez, closing out a game with that type of margin constitutes not only a job well done but another save under his belt. However, those of us who have been around prior to the present-day K-Rod era know all too well that when the Mets play the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, anything can happen.

With runners on first and second and two out, the Braves leadoff man Omar Infante hit a routine fly ball in the direction of first base. Mets Carlos Delgado proceeded to camp under it, when something unbelievable happened that made Mets manager Jerry Manuel “age two more years”, as he said, in an instant. Delgado dropped the ball. Kelly Johnson rambled home and the Braves were now within two. When asked how a pitcher handles a situation like that, Rodriguez basically said, “You have to maintain your focus, have a short-term memory, and go after the hitters.”

After surrendering an RBI single to Yunel Escobar which made the score, 4-3, Rodriguez got Chipper Jones to fly out to right and the Mets successfully completed the abbreviated two-game sweep of the Braves. Tonight, weather permitting, the Mets return home to begin another two game series against the owners of first place in the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies. Scheduled to start for the Mets is their ace, Johan Santana.

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