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When Austin Nola hit a low fly to left field, the Pittsburgh Pirates held their breath for a moment before Ka’ai Tom caught a catch on the warning trail.
Even before Richard Rodriguez won the final on Tuesday evening from the 2-1 win against the San Diego Padres for the fifth time this season, he had secured something special.
The Pirates finished the equivalent of the perfect game of a Reliever, knocking out 27 consecutive batters without allowing a base runner. It required 101 pitches over nine innings in eight games, and Rodriguez hit six without allowing a hit, walking, or pitching a batsman.
« He goes right after people, » said pirate manager Derek Shelton. “Fastball’s orders, execution, he’ll just do it. We talked about guys with no heartbeats. He could be the captain of the no-heartbeat team because he really doesn’t let himself be influenced much by him. »
Rodriguez, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound right-handed man, has thrown 23 straight scoreless innings and has not run since giving up Eric Sogard’s home run in a 6-7 loss to Milwaukee Brewers on August 29, 2020. Rodriguez has been so dominant that season that he just gave up a walk – on opening day to Joc Pederson of the Chicago Cubs – and one hit – a single to Eric Hosmer of the Padres on April 12 – Wil Myers was then deleted. So the Rodriguez series of perfection actually takes place on 28 consecutive clubs.
« Every time Richie comes on the field, not only I, but everyone is confident that we can get out of this situation, » said Erik Gonzalez, the Pirates’ third baseman. « We know he’ll get all three outs. It’s great. I love it. I love watching his bad luck. Most of all, we all – including myself – feel confident that he’ll get the job done. »
On Tuesday night against the Padres, Rodriguez took ninth place with a one-off lead and got Wil Myers to swing in first place and come in third. Rodriguez then bounced back from three straight balls to score against Jake Cronenworth, who flew into the middle for a second time. Nola littered three of the first six pitches he saw before Tom found his deep fly.
While Rodriguez mainly relies on a four-seam fastball at 150 km / h, pirate catcher Jacob Stallings said the key is his ability to hit points in the strike zone.
« He’s got such a big delusion and the way he throws the ball and his ball has such a great life and he found himself really good, » said Stallings. “I think that is being overlooked. People kind of focus on how he throws a lot of fastballs and it’s not at a high speed and he localized himself really well I think and made really good use of the bottom and top of the zone so obviously he was phenomenal. »
Kevin Gorman is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.
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