Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon doesn’t blame Fernando Rodney for defeat
Manager says Angels already had talent and motivation before pitcher’s gesture
Seattle Times staff reporters
A day later, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon shrugged off the controversy surrounding Fernando Rodney’s premature arrow celebration during the 6-5 defeat Sunday against the Angels.
“I heard somebody say that it fired the Angels up and gave them incentive to win the game; that’s a bunch of baloney,” McClendon said Monday. “They understand the importance of these games as much as we do. The fact is they had the best all-around player (Mike Trout) leading off (the ninth inning) and they had a Hall-of-Famer (Albert Pujols) hitting behind him. That had a lot to do with them winning the game, not Rodney’s arrow shooting.”
Rodney, the American League leader in saves, shot his signature fake arrow toward the Angels dugout after getting the final two outs of the eighth inning Sunday. It is, of course, a celebratory gesture Rodney typically saves for the final out of the ninth inning.
Trout then led off the ninth with a walk and scored the tying run on a Pujols double. Trout and Pujols then shot fake arrows at each other in celebration.
“We all entertain. This is an entertainment business,” McClendon said. “Players hit doubles and they have all the signs they do (waving his arms) and everybody has celebrations in the dugout. So Rodney shooting arrows is no different. In the old days, if you didn’t like it, you’d go out and fight. We don’t do that anymore.”
McClendon wasn’t so casual about what he perceived to be an umpire error from the game Sunday.
“If you really think about it,” he said, “we were one check swing that was a strike that wasn’t called from winning that game.”
Mariners reliever Yoervis Medina, in McClendon’s opinion, should have been credited with a strikeout of the Angels’ Howie Kendrick on a two-strike check swing in the seventh. Instead, the check swing was called a ball. Later in the at-bat, Kendrick hit a run-scoring single to cut the M’s lead to 5-4.
Check swings cannot be reviewed under MLB’s new video-replay rules.
“That’s strike three,” McClendon said. “If you really want to talk about replays and what should be replayed, that’s one right there. If you really think about it, that has a lot more impact than some other things (that can be reviewed), particularly with the game on the line.”
McClendon checked the replays and said he believes Kendrick went around.
“I think it cost us a ballgame,” he said.
M’s adjust rotation
Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez will be recalled from Class AAA Tacoma to start against the Mets on Tuesday, with Hisashi Iwakuma pushed back to start the series opener Thursday against Baltimore, and Felix Hernandez scheduled to start Friday.
The Mariners have yet to announce a starter for the game Wednesday against the Mets. Taijuan Walker is a candidate, and McClendon said he would consider reliever Tom Wilhelmsen in a spot-start role again.
“I will take all possibilities under consideration,” McClendon said. “I’ve told you guys before my fascination of possibly starting him. He’s probably built to go five innings and 65 to 70 pitches. So certainly that’s a possibility.”