Rays' Rodney caps off Dominican Republic's comeback win
Tampa Bay Rays closer Fernando Rodney said he was never nervous Tuesday, not even when his heavily-favored Dominican Republic team was seven outs away from becoming victim to the biggest upset in World Baseball Classic history.
And after the Dominicans overcame a four-run deficit against the tournament's Cinderalla - Italy - Rodney was there to close it out, racking up his third straight save in a 5-4 win at Marlins Park.
Rodney, who has finished all four of his country's wins, then shot his trademark imiginary arrow over the centerfield scoreboard, with catcher Carlos Santana kneeling and pointing to the sky.
"It goes to the top of the world," Rodney said with a smile. "To Italia City."
Though it's only mid-March, Rodney appears to be at the top of his game, carrying over from his historic year in which he made the All-Star team and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young race.
Rodney has yet to give up a hit in four appearances (3 1/3 innings), striking out three and walking three. On Tuesday, he hit 98 miles per hour.
“He’s been great,” Dominican manager Tony Pena said. “Everybody knows what kind of pitcher he is. He’s a guy that has great confidence, he has fun. And also after the number of games he saved last year, he was willing to carry over. And right now, we have seen Fernando Rodney throw like he's in the middle of the season. He’s throwing the ball really, really well.”