Bradenton Marauders' Joely Rodriguez throws gem, but for another loss

Marauders' Rodriguez throws gem, but for a loss

jlembo@bradenton.comJuly 9, 2013 

BRADENTON -- One glance at Joely Rodriguez's numbers is enough to make a sabermetrician gush.

The new-school approach to appraising a pitcher's performance and value has nothing to do with his won-loss record, which at one time was the end-all, be-all of a hurler's worth, and more to do with his other stats.

That brings us to Rodriguez, who had his best performance as a Bradenton Marauder on Monday at McKechnie Field when he limited the Charlotte Stone Crabs to six hits and a run over seven efficient innings.

Yet it wasn't enough to produce a win, as the Marauders fell 1-0 in front of 851 fans, dropping the 21-year-old's mark to 0-3 in four starts as a Marauder.

It's a ledger not befitting of the lefty's 2.42 ERA, or the fact he's yielded three runs -- one earned -- in his last 12 innings.

The problem? The Marauders (32-53, 6-11 second half) have scored four runs in Rodriguez's four starts and have been shut out twice by the Stone Crabs, who entered Monday with the highest ERA (4.33) in the Florida State League.

"I think you just encourage him to go compete and that you can control what you can control," said Marauders pitching coach Justin Meccage, "and the only thing you can control is pounding that strike zone and executing pitches.

"He was tremendous. This was the best I've seen him since he's been here."

Rodriguez threw 52 of his 84 pitches for strikes, walked one, struck out three and induced a pair of double plays.

"I was throwing my two-seamer," he said, "and my change-up inside."

Staying low in the zone helped Rodriguez work out of a pair of jams, beginning in the first, when Ryan Brett lead off by grounding a double down the first-base line.

Brett stole third following a groundout, but stayed there as Rodriguez got harmless groundballs off the bat of Willie Argo and Richie

Shaffer.

And following a one-out single in the seventh by Jeff Maim, Rodriguez's final pitch produced a double-play ball from Lucas Bailey.

"I love to see guys and how they respond to situations like that," Meccage said. "I would almost rather have that happen than a clean inning, just to see how they respond…We want to make sure that every guy can handle them really well by the time they leave here."

Bailey, however, landed a bigger blow in the third when he wrapped a home run around the left-field foul pole.

"I'm going to continue to throw," said Rodriguez, who went 5-5 with a 2.72 ERA in with low Single-A West Virginia before coming to Bradenton, "and continue to love the game."

If Rodriguez continues to pitch like he did Monday, a win or two is sure to come his way, and maybe that win-loss record will start looking as impressive as his other numbers.

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