May 9, 2012, 4:16 AM EDT
Associated Press photo
Henry Rodriguez served up the game-winning homer to Rod Barajas.
PITTSBURGH — Henry Rodriguez's "stuff" — his triple-digit fastball and knee-buckling slider — is as good as any repertoire in baseball.
"Stuff," though doesn't always translate into success. Especially when it comes to protecting a one-run lead in the ninth inning. As much as everyone would like to believe pitching is pitching, no matter the situation, decades of evidence have suggested there are some relievers who simply can't handle the pressure of closing a big-league game.
Whether Rodriguez falls into that category remains to be seen. He's been handed the ball in a save situation in the ninth inning only 10 times in his career, successfully preserving the win on eight occasions. That's not enough of a sample size to draw any conclusive resolutions.
This much we do know: Rodriguez is an all-or-nothing reliever. When he's on, he's as good as anyone in the game. When he's off, hide theRead more »
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