PHOENIX — While Orioles manager Buck Showalter praised veteran reliever Francisco Rodriguez for his scoreless eighth inning in the Orioles’ 4-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, he showed no signs of giving K-Rod a save opportunity over struggling closer Jim Johnson.
Johnson blew his second straight save opportunity Tuesday and his eighth this season.
Rodriguez has put together four straight scoreless outings, allowing just one hit over four innings and striking out eight over that span.
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But when asked if Rodriguez could get future save opportunities, Showalter scoffed.
“I understand how this works,” Showalter said. “A week ago, people were asking what’s wrong with Frankie. I don’t live in that world.
"Whether it’s Jimmy or Miguel [Gonzalez] in the seventhinning, there’s always something you can critique,” Showalter added. “Unfortunately, we live in that world where everything gets thrown out that went well when you lose and a lot of things you didn’t do well get thrown out when you win. We know at the end of the day what the judgment is, and that’s winning and losing games. … You can constantly look half empty or half full and with with this group I’ll look half full.”
On Tuesday, Showalter didn’t have much choice. He said that only three relievers were available and all three pitched, with Rodriguez working the eighth, Johnson the ninth and McFarland in extra innings. That was really the only way to use those three in that situation.
But now we will see what he does going forward. Rodriguez has pitched in three of the last four games, so he likely won’t be used Wednesday afternoon regardless. If Johnson isn't used in a closer situation, the Orioles will likely turn to O'Day or Hunter, depending on the situation.