Persuasive Rodriguez earns back-to-back saves

Persuasive Rodriguez earns back-to-back saves

Persuasive Rodriguez earns back-to-back saves
NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins spoke at length Friday afternoon of his plan to avoid pitching Francisco Rodriguez, using Jason Isringhausen's presence as justification for resting his closer.

Shortly afterward, however, Rodriguez began lobbying his manager to let him pitch. And when the Mets took a three-run lead into the ninth, it was Rodriguez -- not Isringhausen -- who came on for the save in the Mets' 6-3 victory over the Dodgers.

"I guess I won," Rodriguez joked.

Though Rodriguez gave his typical response -- "of course" -- when asked pregame if he was available to pitch, Collins said he would try to rest his closer following a 42-pitch, four-out save in Thursday's victory over the Giants.

"He's probably not going to pitch tonight," Collins said Friday afternoon. "With that amount of pitches last night, I'm probably going to give him the night off."

Resting Rodriguez, Collins said, is easier due to the presence of Isringhausen, once one of the game's most decorated closers. Idle since Tuesday's loss to the Giants, Isringhausen was available for a lengthy outing on Friday, if needed.

"That's what helps," Collins said. "It helps us a lot."

But instead, Isringhausen pitched a perfect eighth and Rodriguez handled the ninth, giving up a leadoff single and three deep flyouts. Though Collins said he would try to keep Rodriguez benched for Saturday's game, it's possible the closer will again lobby his manager.

It is worth noting that the Mets have been careful with their use of Rodriguez this season, using him in non-save situations four times and pitching him in back-to-back games just twice. If Rodriguez finishes 55 games this season, he will vest a $17.5 million option for 2011, severely limiting the Mets' financial flexibility next winter.

After Friday's save, Rodriguez was on pace to finish 51 games. By comparison, he finished 69 games with the Angels in 2008 and 66 with the Mets in 2009, and was on pace for a similar total last year prior to season-ending thumb surgery.