Rodney gets vote of confidence from Eckersley

Rodney gets vote of confidence from Eckersley

ST. PETERSBURG -- Closer Fernando Rodney was charged with his Major League-leading fifth blown save on Saturday night in the Rays' 4-3 loss to the Yankees.

Rodney already has more blown saves (five in 14 chances), runs allowed (13, all earned) and walks (18) than he did over the course of the entire 2012 season (two blown saves in 50 chances, five earned runs and 15 walks).

Entering Sunday, his save percentage was 64 percent, which projects to a 33- to 36-save season accompanied by 11 to 14 blown opportunities. That translates to another six to nine blown saves over the remaining 114 games.

Fourteen blown saves is the Major League record.

Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley was at Tropicana Field on Sunday for the TBS broadcast and was asked how a closer works through a stretch such as the one Rodney is experiencing.

"You feel like you let the team down," Eckersley said. "You may feel like you're still throwing the ball well, but you let the team down. Everybody says they're so concerned about him because he's so important. They want to turn the page, too. You have to know that. Obviously, the confidence is there, he's got the stuff, but his command is messed up. … He's a little off, a little tick. Then he gave up a couple of cheap hits last night, and geez."

Eckersley sounded as though he expects Rodney to right the ship.

"He's been doing it for a while," he said, "and he's in the right environment for it. When you're good like that, they come after you. Don't be so good."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.