Why The Hell Should Wandy Rodriguez Listen To Pudge Anyway?
In this corner, we have Wandy
Rodriguez. Wandy's the very definition of a mediocre pitcher
who has managed to hold on in the majors only because he's a left-hander. His career record is 42-45 and his career ERA is 4.59. This season,
he's 5-5, but he's lost his last three games, pitching a total of
only 13.2 innings in those three starts. Yet, in that short amount
of time, he's surrendered 29 hits, 18 runs, 12 earned runs, and four
And in this corner we have
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, recognized as one of the greatest catchers
in the history of major league baseball. Pudge, a former American
League MVP, has played in 2,315 games. He's collected 2,684 hits,
300 homers, 1,241 RBI, and he's got a career batting average of .301. He's also noted for his defensive excellence, having won 13 Gold Gloves. During his career, he's caught the likes of Nolan Ryan, Justin Verlander,
Kenny Rogers, Kevin Brown, and Andy Pettitte.
We bring you this battle because,
after Wandy Rodriguez got lit up by the Colorado Rockies last week,
Pudge Rodriguez informed the team that it looked as if Wandy was tipping
his pitches. Wandy, along with Pudge and pitching
coach Dewey Robinson, watched video from that game, and Wandy said he
doesn't see any problems. Nor does Robinson.
"I think my problem is I'm
missing my location," Wandy told MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. "That's my problem right now."
Now I don't know about you,
but if I were a pitcher, and one of the game's greatest players were
to come to me and tell me I was tipping my pitches, I might think the
problem was a little more than just missing my location, because if
I have been tipping my pitches, then the batters have some idea of where
the pitch's location is actually going to be. So I think I would
pay a bit more attention to someone telling me I'm tipping the pitches
than I would to the videotape. Especially if that someone has
the hitting and catching credentials of Pudge Rodriguez.
I wouldn't be surprised that
the video doesn't show any problems. Unless the camera is zoomed
in on just that right spot, it can be easy to miss subtle differences.
Frankly, I don't have much faith in any member of Cecil Cooper's
staff to spot these type of problems, or well, any member of the Astros
staff. Roy Oswalt, after all, went to Tampa Bay's Jim Hickey
when he was having trouble last season. And Brad Lidge has said
the Phillies told him he was tipping his pitches when he was with the
Astros, thus opposing batters were able to tee off him. As they're
now doing to Wandy.
Now I'm sure Pudge told Wandy
exactly what it was he was doing, and I'm sure that Wandy, like he has
for most of his career, is just going to ignore what he's been told.
And he'll continue to get lit up by the opposition. Perhaps, if it
happens a few more times, he'll actually pay attention when Pudge tells
him what he's doing wrong. After all, what's the purpose of having one
of the game's greatest-ever catchers on the team if you're not going to
pay any attention to anything he says. Especially when you're name is
Wandy Rodriguez and your career is defined by the word mediocre.