By: Will Burchfield
If nothing else, give Francisco Rodriguez credit for this: He has not shied away from his struggles.
After the Tigers closer blew his second consecutive save and fourth of the season on Sunday, he stood up and faced the music.
“It’s already six weeks into the season. I shouldn’t be pitching the way I’m pitching right now. There’s no excuse about it,” Rodriguez told reporters. “Right now, I’m not making any pitches. I’m not fooling anyone.”
Through 13 outings, the 35-year-old Rodriguez has an 8.49 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP. He called it the worst stretch of his career.
“I can’t recall going through such a bad moment that I’m going through right now. I’m extremely disappointed. I’m totally embarrassed. I’m more embarrassed than anything else,” he said.
After blowing a one-run lead in the Tigers loss to Oakland on Saturday night, Rodriguez was hoping for a second opportunity on Sunday.
“That’s definitely what I wanted, but obviously not that result,” he said. “I was hoping to get some redemption. I guess not. It didn’t work out. It’s a really bad stretch right now, and hopefully it’s behind me. I have to find a way to put it behind me.”
The Tigers have a decision to make regarding the closer’s role. Rodriguez knows he’s put the team in a difficult situation.
“Obviously the numbers I’ve put up the last six weeks have been horrible. At the end of the day, I just hope they don’t give up, because I don’t want to be judged on the last 10 outings of my career for what I have done for 15 years,” he said.
Brad Ausmus indicated a change could be on the horizon.
“We’re going to have to have a discussion. We’re going to have talk about it before we make any decisions,” he said.
“He’s not closing out games, which is something he’s done for a decade. I think it’s pretty obvious that it’s not the same Frankie,” Ausmus added. “I think he’s searching for command more than anything — command and finish to his pitches.”