NEW YORK -- Though Mets manager Terry Collins said three weeks ago that he thought closer Francisco Rodriguez might be going through a "dead arm" phase, he said prior to a 4-1 win on Thursday that the Mets need to get the struggling reliever more opportunities to pitch.
"It's like he told me, the more he pitches, the better he is," Collins said. "He's been throwing the ball great, we just have not had too many opportunities in the last five days to get him in there."
Rodriguez saved his 20th game of the season on Thursday, bouncing back from a rough outing the day before when he blew a save while getting his first work in six days. Blowing his second save in a row, Rodriguez gave up the tying run in the top of the ninth before the Mets recovered to win the game in the 13th.
Despite the blown saves, Collins feels Rodriguez has been pitching well lately. Rodriguez has 15 strikeouts and just one walk in June and has not walked a batter in his past eight innings.
"We walk that tightrope about too much or too little," Collins said before the game. "I told him yesterday, 'Look you've got to get in here. I'm going to get you into the game irregardless.' We'll do it again today."