SEATTLE -- Fernando Rodney has blown saves before; it's part of the game. But that did not stop the boos from raining down or the alarm bells from going off among Mariners fans after their new closer saw a 1-0 lead turn into a 2-1 loss in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's game with the Rays.
Blowing a 1-0 game is as tough as it gets, but Rodney knows his role. And a big part of that is having thick skin. Rodney has the third-most saves of any closer in baseball over the past three seasons. But he also blew eight games in 2013 and two in a remarkable 2012.
"I don't listen to the fans," he said after giving up four hits and two runs while getting just two outs on Tuesday. "They boo you if you're good, not good. That's part of the game. I have to keep focused on my game. That's my game. They're going to be there every day, or every night anyway, so I have to focus on my game."
Which is exactly why manager Lloyd McClendon appreciates having Rodney in his bullpen, having worked with him for years with the Tigers as well.
"When you have a good closer, you don't worry about how they respond," McClendon said. "That's why they're good closers: they have short memories. The reason I say I hope he's right back out there today, that means we're winning the game in the ninth inning.
"Listen, it happens. When it happens to you, you take it personally. But it happens all over baseball. Nobody has a perfect season. No closer has a perfect season. This guy is good, and he's closing for a reason, so we move on. I looked today, and the sun came up, and I said, 'I'll be darned. The sky isn't falling. We get to play again.'"
Reminded that it often rains in Seattle, McClendon laughed.
"It came up today though, didn't it?" he said. "If it had been raining, I'd have said, 'Oh [shoot].'"
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.