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Astros pitching coach thinks trade rumors are distracting Wandy Rodriguez

Jul 20, 2012, 1:18 PM EDT

Wandy Rodriguez AP AP

Wandy Rodriguez lasted just four innings against the Padres on Saturday, allowing five runs to give him a 5.65 ERA in his last 10 outings, and afterward Astros pitching coach Doug Brocail suggested that the left-hander is distracted by trade rumors.

“We saw it last year when we were going through it and his name kept coming up,” Brocail said, via Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. “He gets a little nervous about that. I try to tell him it’s nothing you can control, But I see it because I’m with him every day and talk to him every day. I just think that lately his mind’s been elsewhere, and we need to work on that.”

Rodriguez has been one of the best, most underrated starters in the National League, posting ERAs of 3.54, 3.02, 3.60, and 3.49 from 2008-2011, so when he struggles it’s natural to search for a reason. And while Brocail is right that Rodriguez also struggled some around the trade deadline last season, posting a 4.94 ERA in July, he also had a 3.32 ERA in August while rumors continued to swirl around him leading up the waiver trade deadline.

The funny thing about baseball is that when Rodriguez posted a 2.14 ERA in his first 10 starts this season no one searched for reasons why he was clearly out-performing his career norms, yet when he’s posted a 5.65 ERA in his last 10 starts now his reaction to trade rumors is viewed as the cause. Both the 2.14 ERA early and the 5.65 recently are basically equally out of line from his established track record, and if you add them up Rodriguez has a 3.75 ERA overall this season. His combined ERA during the previous five seasons? 3.63.

  1. The Dangerous Mabry - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Speaking of trade rumors, here’s a picture of Jason Heyward in a Yankees uniform:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/1207/pro-athletes-in-little-league/content.14.html

    Couldn’t find a better spot to troll Calcaterra, so this comment thread has to do.

    • foreverchipper10 - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      I think I still have that exact bat in my house from my little league days.

  2. stex52 - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Having watched Wandy over the years, Brocail’s explanation is very plausible. Controlling his emotions was key to his becoming a steady performer. And it’s no secret that most players hate this whole “Up for trade” scenario.

    Sometimes it’s useful to look at the man instead of the stats.

  3. ninjasports - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    This is a professional athlete, to make excuses for him is redicilous and is an attempt to keep his trade stock high

  4. jkaflagg - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Was at the game, and Wandy sailed through the first 9 hitters; no concentration issues at that point. As soon as the Padres got a man on, he pretty much melted: walks, wild pitch, failure to finish off batters with two strikes…..Not sure which contenders would be interested in a pitcher who can’t deal with the mighty Pads in a midseason game….

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