It has been 22 years since Arthur Rhodes made his first pitch in professional baseball for Bluefield of the Appalachian League in 1988. Now at the age of 40, the Texas native is the leading setup man in Major League Baseball.

He has allowed only one run in 23 relief appearances in 2010 for a 1-1 record and a 0.42 ERA. He has not allowed a run since his second appearance of the season on April 10 against the Cubs.

Rhodes issued his first walk since May 8 last night when he walked two Cardinals. He has allowed only nine hits in his 21 innings and has posted a 0.69 WHIP, and opponents are hitting only .130 against Rhodes.

For the first 13 years of his major league career, Rhodes pitched nine years for the Orioles and four years for the Mariners.

Since leaving the Mariners he has pitched for the A’s, Indians, Phillies, a second stint with the Mariners, Marlins, and Reds. He missed the entire 2007 season due to Tommy John surgery.

Rhodes has been stingy when it comes to allowing home runs and has allowed only eight home runs since 2004.

He pitched very well for both the Orioles and Mariners in back-to-back seasons. He compiled a 19-4 record for the Orioles over the 1996 and 1997 seasons. Later he would post an 18-4 record over the 2001 and 2002 seasons for the Mariners.

When Rhodes played his first season for the Orioles he only earned $100,000, and in his sixth season with the Orioles he was only earning $300,000. Today a first-year player earns over $400,000, but Rhodes didn’t earn that much till his seventh season, when he earned $1.6 million.

The Reds are currently one game ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central race, and Rhodes has been a big part of their success.


Around the Diamond

The Braves extended their winning streak to seven games after defeating the Phillies again last night.

While the Braves have the longest winning streak in the majors, the Diamondbacks have the longest losing streak with nine consecutive losses. A.J. Hinch, who took over the managerial reins for the Diamondbacks last season, may be replaced since the team has been 78-108 with him at the helm, and he has shown no sign of being able to turn the team around.

In his defense, though, the Diamondbacks have been without the services of Brandon Webb, 2006 Cy Young winner and the runner-up in 2007 and 2008, since he has thrown only four innings since 2008.

The Rangers moved into a one percentage point lead over the A’s yesterday. The Red Sox are only a half game behind the third-place Blue Jays in the AL East.

Javier Vazquez won his fourth game of the 2010 season last night. He didn’t win his fourth game till May 20 in 2009, so he has to be hoping he can put together another 10-3 record in the second half to make up for his dismal start in 2010. However, his ERA was 3.58 at this time last season but is currently 6.06.

Trevor Hoffman allowed three runs in the seventh inning to the Marlins when he allowed three hits and two walks, as the Marlins broke a 3-3 tie to take a 6-3 lead and eventually defeated the Brewers 6-4. It was the third time in his last seven appearances that Hoffman gave up three runs.

Hoffman has allowed 22 runs and 25 hits in 17 innings while striking out 10 and walking 10. Two years ago he had a strikeout to walk ratio of 46-9 in 54 innings but has walked 10 already this season in 37 fewer innings. He is proving not only that he cannot close games, but also that he cannot hold a lead if he enters the game before the ninth inning.

The Brewers are in a quandary since they would probably like to release him now but would like to pay him as little of the $7.5 million owed as possible depending on whether he has a guaranteed contract. One thing for sure is that it is very unlikely he will garner his 600th save since he still needs four more. I can’t see any team wanting his services since he has a 2.06 WHIP.

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