Rod only played in 2 games in the past week, but he was a crucial part of both games. He caught Wandy Rodriguez’s Pirates debut on Saturday night and also had the winning hit, and he caught AJ Burnett’s one-hitter on Tuesday.
Rod caught Wandy’s debut for one reason, according to Rob Biertempfel:
Wandy had some issues with command, but he was excited to join the Pirates and help his team win. Here’s the RECAP of that game. Rod was 1 for 4 in that game, but his one hit came just when the Pirates needed it. He came up to bat with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 3rd. Having gone 0 for 18 in his last start, Rod needed a hit. I prayed he’d get one, and he singled, to left of course, to drive in Cutch and put the Buccos up, 4-3, which ended up being the final score.
Rod’s other accomplishment this week was catching AJ Burnett’s one-hitter. It was a no-hitter until the 8th inning with 2 outs. A pitch earlier in the at-bat could have been called a strike, resulting in a strikeout, but Rod was very professional about the situation in his post-game interview: “It’s a tough pitch. I’m not gonna sit here and yell at the umpire, berate the umpire, saying it was a strike. I’da loved it if he had called it a strike. Was it actually a strike? It was close. It was a really really close pitch, but obviously I would have loved for it to have gone our way. That’s the game of baseball. You’re not going to get every call.”
After giving up the hit, Rod was able to make AJ laugh, loosen him up, and get him back on track to finish the game. Four quick outs later, the game was over, and the Bucs won 5-0. Here’s the RECAP.
Michael McKenry caught 4 of the past 6 games, but he is coming into his own offensively (10 homeruns, 27 RBIs in just 45 games) and defensively. Jeff Karstens seems to prefer pitching to the Fort, and Erik Bedard seems to prefer the same. Even James McDonald, who originally had Rod as his personal catcher, isn’t so picky anymore and will pitch to either catcher. AJ Burnett was even forced to pitch to the Fort when Rod was injured, and he’s continually given props to the job that McKenry does.
McKenry himself gives Rod credit and talks about how Rod is his mentor and how he looks up to Rod and learns from him.
Rod will catch Wandy in tonight’s game against the Reds, the 1st of a 3-game series. He will most likely be off tomorrow and then catch AJ Burnett on Sunday. I’ll be in Pittsburgh for the series against the Diamondbacks next Monday through Thursday. Obviously, I can’t wait to see Rod.
I’ll leave you with this tweet from Rod’s cousin:
It made me laugh.
Good luck this week, Rod!