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By Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
K-Rod making Roenicke's job difficult
MILWAUKEE -- On Monday night, manager Ron Roenicke put Francisco Rodriguez in a game that the Brewers were winning for the first time since July 29 against the Nationals. And much like that game, which ended in an 11-10 loss for Milwaukee, Rodriguez couldn't get the job done, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk in one-third of an inning.The Brewers still managed to win Monday night's game, 6-3, against the Reds, but Roenicke once again was left to think about what to do with Rodriguez. "I don't think it matters whether it's a lead or whether it's not a lead," Roenicke said. "I think Frankie, when his command is on, he's certainly going to do well in any of those situations. But it's his command." Rodriguez had been moved to closer before blowing back-to-back saves in Philadelphia. His next appearance was against the Nationals, but he then pitched well in two games that were basically decided before he entered. In those two games -- a loss and a win -- he combined to pitch two innings without giving up a run, hit or a walk. It's the walks that tend to dictate Rodriguez's success level, considering he handed out five free passes in his three straight disastrous outings at the end of July. For Roenicke, the toughest part about Monday night's game is that he thought Rodriguez pitched well but didn't have much luck on his side. "If you go back and look at the pitches he threw last night, they're not that bad of pitches," Roenicke said. "They're spotted well, they're down in the zone, they're kind of where you teach guys to throw. Sometimes you don't get the pitches you want to get, and then it changes the at-bat. All of a sudden, you're behind in the count and you can't go to your breaking ball.
"I thought he threw the ball OK last night. I was encouraged by the way he threw. I know the outcome wasn't good, but I was encouraged with the way he threw the ball."Encouraged enough to pitch Rodriguez with the game on the line? "I think we'll just kind of see how the game goes along and where the pieces fall and who's available that night," Roenicke said. "I still like the way [rookie Jim Henderson] is throwing the ball, so I think he'll be somewhere in the mix later on. But maybe I'm in trouble in the sixth inning and I need Henderson to get out of it, so now that changes what we do in the seventh, eighth and ninth. "It changes a lot. Even though we have plans, we want to win that game, so if we have to change things in our plans, then we'll do that."
Brewers reliever Manny Parra, who hasn't pitched since July 24 because of a pinching in his left shoulder, received positive feedback from Dr. William Raasch on Monday. Both Parra and manager Ron Roenicke said Raasch didn't report any issues. Roenicke still didn't have a date for Parra's return, but he said the Brewers might push the 29-year-old left-hander, who went through a regular throwing routine on Tuesday, back as far as 120 feet. In their last eight home games entering Tuesday, the Brewers have connected on 18 home runs. Meanwhile, in the team's last eight road games, Milwaukee has just seven home runs. Roenicke admitted Miller Park is a hitter's stadium on Tuesday, but he thinks there's more to his team's success with the long ball at home. "I know when you like hitting in your ballpark and you have confidence coming into the game, it makes a difference," Roenicke said. "You're more patient at the plate, you know you just have to square up balls and they're going to carry well. So that can be part of it, but I'm just glad to see we're scoring some runs." The Brewers entered Tuesday with the top three extra-base hit producers in the National League. Aramis Ramirez led the league with 53 before homering in the first inning, Corey Hart was second with 51 and Ryan Braun was in a tie for third with 50. Ramirez was also tied for the Major League lead in doubles with 37.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.