Earl Weaver, the late Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame manager, famously said “The key to winning games is pitching, fundamentals and three-run homers.”
When current manager Buck Showalter took over the team on August 2, 2010 his focus was on the fundamentals. The O’s lead the majors in home runs, so they’ll hit their fair share of three-run shots.
Today the Orioles focused on pitching and acquired a player who was on their radar for a couple weeks. Baltimore traded minor league infielder Nick Delmonico to the Milwaukee Brewers for right-hander Francisco Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, known as “K-Rod” during his dominant years with the then Anaheim Angels, is 1-1 in 2013. He has 10 saves and a 1.09 ERA. In 24.2 innings with the Brewers, Rodriguez has 26 strikeouts and nine walks.
“He’s got experience in the postseason and he’s a proven veteran reliever who can pitch late in games,” said Dan Duquette, Orioles executive vice-president of baseball operations.
Rodriguez led the American League in saves three times with the Angels (2005, ’06 and ’08). In 2008 he set a new single-season record for most saves in a season with 62, breaking Bobby Thigpen’s record of 57.
The trade gives the Orioles more options late in games. Current closer, Jim Johnson, has a MLB best 35 saves. But his 3.55 ERA and six blown saves this season are his highest totals since the 2009 season.
Delmonico was a 6th round pick in the 2011 draft. In 60 games at single-A Frederick, Delmonico was batting .244 with 13 home runs and 30 RBIs.
The trade comes one day after MLB suspended Brewers star left fielder Ryan Braun for the rest of the season for violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.