After tying the major league record for postseason victories (five) and setting a playoff record for most strikeouts by a reliever (28, in 18? innings), Rodriguez this season looks more like a pitcher who had only 5? innings of major league experience before that improbable postseason run. Through Sunday he was 4-1 but had a 5.11 ERA and had surrendered 20 hits, 13 walks and five wild pitches in 24? innings.
Rodriguez has his stuff—the lively 95-mph fastball and nasty 83-mph slider were still unhittable and had yielded 24 strikeouts—but he was struggling to get those pitches over the plate. The reason: an inconsistent release point in his delivery. Rodriguez's arm comes across his torso when he throws, putting stress on his arm and shoulder, and he finishes with a drawn-out, deliberate release. Angels pitching coach Bud Black has been trying to modify the delivery to correct the problem.
"He's young and he's inexperienced, but one thing Frankie does do is adapt very well," says manager Mike Scioscia. "He'll find the consistency he needs. He's going to be an incredible pitcher. He's experiencing some bumps in the road, but he'll get through it."
In the meantime Donnelly, who pitched well in the World Series after getting hammered in the Division Series and ALCS last fall, went 25 innings before giving up his first run of the season last Thursday.
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