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Can You Hear the Drums, Fernando? White Sox 7, Tigers 5

I just couldn't sit in front of the TV during the most gorgeous afternoon we've had in Michigan all year, and I suppose that provides something of an answer to the question I posed about Saturday matinees. Had that been a night game, I surely would've watched the whole thing.

Maybe that was for the best, however, as Fernando Rodney might have compelled me to chuck something against the wall. As it was, I was ready to bite down on my steering wheel when I listened to that 10th inning in my car.

(Hey, at least I didn't have to listen to "Hawk and D.J." as Mike McClary had to on WGN. I don't have many bad memories my two years in Iowa. But if I was going to watch baseball, White Sox games were almost my only option. You can stick a knitting needle through my ears... YES!)

Let's try and distill just how bad Rodney has been this season. The Tigers have eight losses in 2007. Rodney has four of them. And many of them have come in the same excruciating fashion, with Todd Jones keeping the game tied in the ninth, only to have Rodney blow it in the tenth.

This isn't funny anymore. (Not that it ever was.) I don't know what's wrong with the guy. His loss of velocity and control would seem to indicate an injury. I've read a few people say that it might be his mechanics, that his arm angle is wrong. I wish I could say I've looked at tape of Rodney and been able to make the same determination. I haven't. But it seems like a viable explanation.

Maybe it's a mental thing, and Rodney just can't function when the game is really on the line. Despite having closer stuff, he hasn't done well in that role when given the opportunity. So maybe Jim Leyland needs to stop putting him in these situations. Actually, there's no "maybe" about it. Rodney has to be used differently now because he's losing too many damn games.

Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure how that will work. Would Rodney do well in the situations in which Leyland has used Joel Zumaya? At this point, who knows? Sure, it'd be nice to see Zumaya used in those 10th inning situations. But maybe it never gets to the 10th if Rodney gives up the lead earlier in the game.

This, right here, has to be why Jim Leyland smokes. Just typing that last paragraph has me ready to run to the drugstore and pick up a carton of Marlboros.

▪▪ Here's the opposing view from South Side Sox.

▪▪ Do Hawk and D.J. really have a blog? Look, I'll go deaf, but don't make me go blind, too. C'mon. Show some humanity.