It’s time to dial it back on Paco Rodriguez.
The young left-hander has been nothing short of phenomenal this season and is the unsung part of the bullpen coming together and being so effective since Kenley Jansen became the closer.
But his last few appearances indicate he’s hit a wall, which is what you might call understandable. Like understanding Syria just might be a dangerous place right now.
Rodriguez is 22 years old. A year ago May, he was still pitching for the University of Florida. The most professional games he ever appeared in one season before this year -- 32.
This season he’s already appeared in 69 games.
And the last few games, he hasn’t looked the same. Since he had a remarkable 0.32 earned-run average in a stretch of 37 games through Sept. 1, looking the same would be difficult.
In his past four games, he’s allowed four walks, equaling the amount he surrendered in his previous 37. He gave up two earned runs, actually doubling what he allowed in the previous 37.
Saturday in Cincinnati he was charged with a blown save after allowing a run to score on two hits and a walk. He was pitching in his fourth consecutive game (though Thursday was an off-day).
And really, it’s more than enough. The Dodgers don’t need to be trotting him out to the mound so often, even if he’s only pitched 50 total innings. They have the division in hand, it’s not necessary. They almost love him too much.
The Dodgers need Rodriguez strong for the postseason, not wear him out in September. Time to use him judiciously.