Rodriguez takes pride in Verlander's feat
Adds no-hitter to Rogers' perfect game in career credentials
DETROIT -- Ivan Rodriguez had already seen one no-hitter before. But this was a different kind of no-hitter.A young Rodriguez, in just his fourth year as a pro in 1994, was behind the plate for the Rangers in Kenny Rogers' perfect game. He was behind the plate again for Justin Verlander's no-hitter on Tuesday night against the Brewers. Verlander and Rogers are almost polar opposites on the mound. Rogers, a light-throwing lefty, relies heavily on changing speeds and good location. Verlander, a flame-throwing righty, also relies on changing speeds, though he is known as more of a power pitcher with a fastball that tops 100 mph. But if you ask Rodriguez, there was one constant in both no-hitters. "The good thing with Justin is that he throws hard, but to throw a no-hitter, you don't have to throw hard," Rodriguez said. "You have to locate and when you can locate balls in different parts of the plate, you make the hitter think and they don't think about one place. And that's what he did today." "He located the fastball in and out. Up and in. The whole game, he mixed the fastball with changeups and breaking balls. He didn't throw a lot of fastballs, he just made a lot of good pitches today." Rodriguez joked that Rogers was a power pitcher back when he threw his no-hitter, with a fastball that reached 95 mph. Although Rogers' no-hitter was of the perfect game variety, he still thought Verlander's performance was better. "He had much better stuff than I had. It was about as good of stuff as you could put out there on the mound," Rogers said. "It wasn't the lack of Milwaukee, that kind of stuff is so good, it doesn't matter what team you're going up against." Rogers may have the bragging rights over Verlander because he didn't allow a single baserunner in his no-hitter while Verlander walked four. But Verlander beat Rogers in the strikeout total with 12 compared to eight for Rogers.
Rogers, who is now teammates of both Rodriguez and Verlander in Detroit, said he knew Verlander was capable of something special on Tuesday in about the fourth inning. He even stopped in the middle of a workout to watch the game to ensure he didn't miss anything special.Now Rodriguez can add one more milestone to his already impressive Hall of Fame career. He gets a lot of credit for his offense and Gold Glove defense, but he said calling a game is one of the best assets as a players. "To be honest with you, when you catch a no-hitter, it's like hitting 6-for-6. I didn't care what I did in my four at-bats today," said Rodriguez, who was 0-for-4 on Tuesday, not that it matters. "I was just there to go out behind the plate and call a good game. That's one of the things that I take a lot of pride in." "That's the beauty of this game. You never know when things like this are going to happen and when they do happen, you've gotta enjoy it."
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.