Despite his 1-4 record and 8.24 ERA, there have been times that starting pitcher Frank Rodriguez has looked good for the Salt Lake Buzz.
The problem is something bad always ends up happening.He'd leave a pitch over the middle of the plate. He'd lose his concentration for a hitter or two. He'd pitch one inning too long, and he would pay.
But Friday night at Franklin Quest Field, while all eyes where on the Utah Jazz, Rodriguez turned in his best performance of the year in Salt Lake's 7-2 win over Edmonton. He pitched six innings and gave up just five hits and kept Edmonton scoreless. This night things would be different.
When Rodriguez gave up a one-out double in the first inning, he gritted his teeth and left nothing to chance by fanning the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Something bad could have happened in the third inning when Edmonton put runners at first and third with just one out, but Rodriguez got D.T. Cromer to ground to first basemen Scott Stahoviak. Instead of taking the easy out at first, Stahoviak threw home to Buzz catcher Jayhawk Owens, who put the tag on Mark Bellhorn to keep Edmonton off the board.
Rodriguez then struck out Brian Lesher to end the inning.
"He had good stuff tonight. He was aggressive and stayed ahead of the hitters. I haven't seen the charts, but I'll bet he topped out at 93 to 95 (miles per hour)," said Buzz manager Phil Roof. "He's pitched decent in most of the games, but he'll have one bad inning that causes his ERA to skyrocket."
After 101 pitches and six innings, Roof lifted Rodriguez. By then the Buzz were well in control of the game, 7-0.
Rodriguez got all the support he needed in the third inning when the Buzz batted around and erupted for six runs.
Edmonton's nightmare began when Owens drilled a hooking liner at Bellhorn, the Trapper third baseman, who got a glove on it but couldn't handle it.
The Buzz then executed a hit-and-run when Owens took off for second base and the Trappers picked the wrong man to cover second. Jeff Ferguson hit a ground ball right where Edmonton shortstop Jorge Velandia had been, but Velandia was halfway to second when the ball bounced into left field.
Edmonton starter Gil Hereida then hurt his own cause when Chris Latham chopped a ground ball to second baseman Jason Wood.
Hereida got to first in time but dropped Wood's throw.
Esteban Beltre followed with a single down the right-field line that scored Owens.
Stahoviak then blooped a single to left that scored Ferguson.
The Buzz completed the scoring when Corey Koskie doubled in two runs and Ken Ramos singled in Koskie.
Salt Lake added another run in the fifth when Chad Rupp smoked a line drive home run that was hit so hard it looked like it left a divot on the grass over left-field fence.
The Trappers ended Salt Lake's shutout streak at 16 straight innings when Mike Neill hit a two-run homer off Doug Linton in the seventh, but that was all the offense Edmonton could generate.
Rupp led the Buzz with a 3-for-4 performance. Koskie went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs.
Sunday's game time has been moved from 5 p.m. to 2 p.m. so it won't conflict with Game 3 of the NBA Finals.