There is consternation in Yankee Nation. On Wednesday night, Mariano Rivera lost his second game of the season and saw his ERA climb to 4.91.
I'm not saying Mariano Rivera is going to be lights out this year. He might be a little worse than he's been in the past. I don't know.
know that Mariano Rivera once called Michael H. Celizic's child "a raging homo." You know how I know this? Because there is no other way to explain MHC's one-man crusade against Mariano Rivera. Here's last year's
Rivera's-sky-is-falling article. Rivera's numbers by the end of 2005? How about: 1.38 ERA / .87 WHIP / 80/18 K/BB. Forty-three saves. No one asked the real question, which isn’t, “Why did Mo blow the game,” but, “What was your most valuable player doing pitching two innings in a tie game against Tampa?”
In other words: "Who finally had the common sense to pitch Mariano when it really mattered instead of throwing him out there for 3 outs with a 3-run lead?" Right? No.
Torre extemporized that Rivera hadn’t been pitching a lot and needed the work. But he didn’t need two innings of work. Soon enough, there will be plenty of opportunities for Rivera to pitch. Better to let him get a tad rusty than to burn him out by pitching him for two innings in tie games in April against the Devil Rays. The Yankees have been down this road before, and it leads to nowhere good.
During the game in question, Rivera threw 38 pitches. Four of those were in the form of an intentional walk, so we're really talking about 34. He threw 18 in the first inning of work, and Torre sent him out for another inning. Thirty-four pitches is not exactly short relief, but it's also damn well worth it if you're trying to get a victory. And in a tie game, with an offense that's likely to score 1,000 runs this year, that's what you're hoping for. Throw Mo for two innings, and give yourself two shots at a victory. It didn't work out that way, which is going to happen sometimes.
And if "nowhere good" is a place where my closer throws 78 innings of dominant relief, as it was last year, I'll take it.So the last thing you want to do is burn him up by pitching him in non-save situations or using him for more than one inning at a time.
All hail The Save! Most arbitrary of statistics!
Chien-Ming Wang pitched seven solid innings, leaving with a 2-2 tie. Farnsworth, as the script calls for, pitched a brilliant eighth — three up, three down, two strikeouts, 12 pitches thrown.
If anyone has written a script involving both Chien-Ming Wang and Kyle Farnsworth, I want to read it right now
Rivera’s job is to get three outs in the ninth and save wins. When he is given that job, he’s spectacular. When things fall apart is when Torre uses him to pitch two innings or brings him in with a five-run lead or uses him to preserve a tie when he has other options.
Get it right, Joe Torre. I am Michael Hatguy Celizic and this is what you do with Mariano Rivera. You throw him in save situations. You throw him when you're up three runs in the ninth. You do not throw him when you're up five. Unless you are up five and the bases are loaded, and then (of course) you can bring him in to pitch because it's a save situation.
But with Torre, who has never shown any confidence in any reliever except Rivera, even something that simple becomes complicated. So he gave up on Farnsworth, who was brilliant. And he went to his security blanket, Rivera.
Sometimes, a guy who just pitched a brilliant inning of relief is also a giant fucking question mark. And sometimes, your security blanket is a guy who struck out 80 dudes and only walked 18 the year before.
I wonder what he keeps under that hat, anyway. Can't...stop...looking...at...hat...