Is Wandy Rodriguez ready for the role of Staff Ace?
The Astros’ decision to move last year’s Opening Day starter Brett Myers to the bullpen made Wandy Rodriguez the team’s number one starter by default. But is Wandy ready for the pressure and responsibility that comes with the job? If last night’s performance is any indication, I would have to say- NO.
Wandy lost his cool in the fourth inning, and it seems to be a recurring theme. Brad Mills talked with Rodriguez about the meltdown.
"That fourth inning, Rodriguez really got frustrated with himself. We had a good talk after he came out of the game."
Wandy is by far the most experienced pitcher in the Astros rotation, but you wouldn’t know it given his often pouty nature on the mound. As the ace of the staff Rodriguez needs to learn how to maintain his composure and set an example for the younger players. One would think Rodriguez would have learned that by now. He’s had plenty of role models along the way including Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, and Andy Pettitte.
Those three pitchers were fierce competitors that took responsibility for the outcome of the games they pitched. I never heard any of them, or Brett Myers for that matter, offer any excuses. Rodriguez admitted to leaving a changeup over the middle of the plate to David Ross but seemed a little less accountable when discussing last night’s four errors, one of which Wandy himself committed.
"I don’t have control over that. That’s what happens sometimes."
The Astros have made eight errors in six games this season – four in each of Wandy’s starts and none in the games that Rodriguez didn’t pitch. Wandy made two of those errors himself. I’m not saying that he is the reason for the team’s defensive woes, but it does make me wonder.
Hopefully Wandy can take something from his chat with Brad Mills. I wish I would have been able to hear it for myself. Sometimes I wonder if Mills is too easy on his players and doesn’t get the desired level of respect from them. But that’s a topic for another post. If Wandy can’t step up and lead by example I hope to see him dealt by the trade deadline. He just seems to be going through the motions out there sometimes. To me, Bud Norris seems like a guy who would be comfortable with more of a leadership role.