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Just Catch the Ball Behind Him, and All Will Be Fine

This blog's primary concern regarding the acquisition of Francisco Rodriguez:


This is a man who once lost a game via walk-off when he muffed a return throw from the catcher.

I'm referencing August 11, 2005, a vital game for the Angels and Athletics at the time, since the two were tied for first place.

This was a game in which the Angels had a 4-0 lead after six-and-a-half innings, leaving Angels manager Mike Scioscia comfy enough to pull Paul Byrd (104 pitches) in favor of Brendan Donnelly.

The good feelings didn't last long. Former Met Jay Payton started the rally with a home run on Donnelly's first pitch. That should have been a sign that it wasn't Donnelly's day. By the end of the inning, the score was tied, thanks to an Eric Chavez home run.

The game remained even into the bottom of the ninth, and Scioscia turned to Scot Shields, keeping his closer Rodriguez, who hadn't pitched for five days, ready if needed. His services were required when the Athletics put runners on first and second with one out.

Rodriguez got a force from Bobby Crosby, moving runners to first and third, bringing Eric Chavez up. Crosby advanced to second on defensive indifference, but after Rodriguez's first pitch was called a ball, the newest Met "nonchalantly" (as described by the AP game story) reached for the throw-back from catcher Jose Molina.

The ball glanced off Rodriguez's glove and rolled a few feet away. Jason Kendall, the runner on third, sprinted home and scored the winning run before a throw could even be made home. Some of you may recall this. It's probably the weirdest ending to a baseball game you've seen.

"A 5-year-old could have caught it," Rodriguez said to reporters afterwards. "I should have caught the ball. It's unfortunate that we lost the game like that, but what can you do?"

Well for one thing, you could get Orlando Hudson to back up any throws back to the pitcher when Rodriguez is in the game.

True Metriguez's know...K-Rod was the pitcher who allowed the game-tying inside-the-park home run to Marlon Anderson, the precursor to a walk-off home run by Cliff Floyd in a Mets win over the Angels on June 11, 2005.

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