Maddon sticking with struggling Rondon

Cubs closer has had rough month, but has support of manager

Maddon sticking with struggling Rondon

PHOENIX -- Cubs manager Joe Maddon may use a different pitcher as the closer Saturday, but it has nothing to do with a lack of support for Hector Rondon.

Rondon blew his third save Friday, giving up a game-tying, two-run homer to the D-backs' Paul Goldschmidt with two outs in the 10th inning. Arizona eventually won the game, 5-4, in 13 innings. Rondon was upset not just about Goldschmidt's homer but also A.J. Pollock's double, which set up the home run.

"I need better location," Rondon said Saturday. "I know that pitch ran up a little to the middle [to Goldschmidt]. I think that's why we lost the game yesterday, those pitches."

"He knows what he did wrong," said Maddon, who didn't plan on meeting with the right-hander. "I'll say [to him], 'Hey, listen, everything's cool. I still have a lot of trust and support.' It's one of those things that happens in our game."

This season, Rondon is 9-for-12 in save situations, and has a 6.00 ERA in nine May appearances, giving up six earned runs over nine innings. Those runs have come in three games out of the nine.

Rondon doesn't feel he needs to change his mechanics, and says he doesn't feel any more pressure this season compared to last year, when the Cubs were well out of contention. This season, the Cubs are doing their best to compete in the National League Central.

What is different is that Rondon and the other relievers are talking more amongst themselves.

"The last two weeks, our bullpen wasn't that good, but now we're talking more about how to have a better plan," Rondon said. "I think we'll be fine."

Maddon agrees.

"He had great stuff yesterday, really good stuff," Maddon said of Rondon. "He threw the ball in a bad spot. ... He wanted to do something else and didn't do it. That's why this game is so interesting. If they were all robots and never make mistakes, it would be a very boring game."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.