MIAMI -- The way the Dodgers were all over the fastball in the ninth inning on Friday has the Marlins wondering if Fernando Rodney might be tipping his pitches.
Yasmani Grandal crushed a fastball for a home run to lead off the inning, and after two more singles, Rodney was lifted for A.J. Ramos, who worked out of the damage and picked up a save in Miami's 4-1 win at Marlins Park.
Rodney didn't dismiss the notion that hitters might know which pitches are coming.
"Maybe, yeah," the veteran said. "They were so comfortable there. I'm going to see what it is, and keep working."
Rodney has been the Marlins' closer for much of the second half. But he has had his struggles, especially lately, allowing a two-run lead at Cleveland to slip away in a 6-5 loss last Sunday.
"Again, I think command is a big issue," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "In Cleveland, it got him in trouble. Tonight, when you don't locate and can't continually get ahead in the count, it seemed like every time he threw a fastball, they were on it. It's another area we'll look at. I know those guys are pretty good over there about tipping and what's going on with the glove or something else. We'll pay attention to that with him, because every time he threw a fastball, they were right on it."
With time running out on the season -- just 21 games remain and the club is five games behind the Mets for the second National League Wild Card spot -- protecting leads is critical. Mattingly is not saying publicly if Rodney will remain the closer or the job will go back to Ramos, who logged his 33rd save on Friday.
Rodney is also an established veteran, and it is tough for a manager to take the ball in the ninth inning.
"It's a little easier because of Cleveland, knowing that game kind of got away from him and I just can't let him do that," Mattingly said. "It's easier when you know you have A.J., who was our closer up until the finger injury."
To Rodney, the priority is getting right. It has been a challenge for him since he was acquired from the Padres in late June. With the Padres, he went 17-for-17 in save chances with an 0.31 ERA. But with Miami, his ERA is 5.40. If he is tipping his pitches, he will aim to fix the problem.
"To clean a swing," Rodney said of Grandal's home run. "That's why we have a pitching coach. We've got a lot of guys there who could tell you what's happening. If that thing is happening, we'll fix that."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.