Another early-season surprise for Rays fans so far this year has been the bullpen. Tampa's 'pen was terrific in 2012 and was expected to be strong again in 2013.
Despite an impressive line of relievers, Jamey Wright is really the only one who has performed well in the first week of the season. The most shocking part is the fact that Fernando Rodney, after such an incredible year, has struggled in both of his appearances. He's surrendered three earned runs in just 1.2 innings, including a blown save.
The main question here is whether or not it's too early to be concerned. I believe that most of the pieces in the 'pen will fall into place, but Rodney worries me a little at the moment.
What I've noticed about him during Opening Week is his change in positioning on the pitching rubber. Last year, Rodney shifted from the middle-to-right side of the rubber (facing home plate) to all the way to the left side. This adjustment would pay dividends, helping improve his command significantly.
This season, Rodney has moved back toward the middle of the mound. He's still a bit closer to first base than he was throughout his pre-Tampa career, but it's definitely a noticeable difference. It will be interesting to see how he'll rebound to a rough start.