Rodriguez blows save in Revs’ loss to Long Island

Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Andy Etchebarren, Jeremy Lewis, Long Island Ducks, R.J. Rodriguez, Roster, Shaun Garceau

For the second time in less than a week, York Revolution manager Andy Etchebarren has declared that reliever R.J. Rodriguez is no longer the team’s closer.

This time, Etchebarren made the declaration on Sunday following a ninth-inning blown save by Rodriguez that gave Long Island an 8-6 come-from-behind win at Sovereign Bank Stadium in front of 4,770 fans.

The Revs led 6-5 heading into the top of the ninth inning, when Ducks’ outfielder Freddie Thon led off with a double. After Ducks’ catcher J.R. House flied out to right field, Etchebarren said he called for Rodriguez to walk Kennard Jones to put runners on first and second with one out to allow York’s defense to try for a double play.

Rodriguez walked Jones but followed that by throwing a high fastball to Ray Navarrete, who smashed it over the left-field wall to give Long Island the lead.

“We want to get a sinkerball and get the double play,” Etchebarren said. “But (Rodriguez) tries to strike the guy out (with a fastball). It doesn’t make any sense to me. We give it away. That’s a game we should have won.”

The skipper called a team meeting directly after the loss to talk about what happened in the ninth.

“I talked to everybody about it,” he said. “I thought it was silly. I didn’t talk to (Rodriguez) about his stuff. His stuff is good enough. The approach to the end of the game was just terrible.”

Etchebarren had said on Wednesday that Rodriguez no longer held the closer’s role when the right-hander tossed a scoreless eighth inning against the Road Warriors that same day. Rodriguez, however, went on to pick up saves on Friday and Saturday against Long Island before blowing the save Sunday.

“I do not have a closer from this point on,” Etchebarren said. “I’m gonna go with who ever I pick is gonna get ‘em out in the ninth inning. That’s the bottom line.”

York (10-7) has now lost seven of its last 10 games after starting the year 7-0. Revs’ right-hander Shaun Garceau (0-1) struggled in his third start of the year, surrendering four earned runs on eight hits, including two home runs, in four innings of work.

“Obviously if you leave balls up, you’re gonna give up hits, and I know better than that,” Garceau said. “I wasn’t too upset about it because we were still close, but I can’t be giving up four runs in four innings.”

Long Island starter Mike Parisi (2-1) didn’t do any better, giving up six earned runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.

The teams traded runs through the first five innings, with York taking a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth when catcher Salvador Paniagua got an RBI ground out and second baseman Liu Rodriguez got an RBI single.

The Ducks added a run in the top of the sixth off Revs’ reliever Jeremy Lewis, pulling within 6-5.

York relievers Sean Stidfole, Ronnie Morales and Mike DeMark combined to toss 21/3 scoreless innings before Rodriguez blew it in the ninth.

York will have off Monday and Tuesday before hosting Lancaster on Wednesday at Sovereign Bank Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Lewis released: York released Lewis following Sunday’s game.

The 30-year-old right-hander entered Sunday with a 6.75 ERA, having surrendered six runs, five earned, in 62/3 innings.

Lewis gave up a run and a hit in 2/3 of an inning on Sunday.

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