Monday, June 29, 2009

Mariano gets 500 and 1

Only in baseball could an athlete reach a milestone like 500 career saves while simultaneously getting a first from the opposite side of the ball. What K-Rod was thinking when Mariano Rivera stepped to the plate in the top of the ninth inning I don't know, but you could tell he was afraid to give Mo something to hit. Maybe it was that mighty hack Rivera took on the 2-2 pitch that let Rodriguez know that Mo meant business.

Mariano is obviously a once in a lifetime talent. I doubt he will ever catch Trevor Hoffman for the all-time saves lead, but he is clearly the most dominant reliever in baseball history. Now I know the role has changed quite a bit from the days of Sparky Lyle, Goose Gossage and even Bruce Sutter and Dennis Eckersley, but Rivera's consistency coupled with his utter domination of the post season puts him above all others especially with his counter-parts from this generation like Hoffman or K-Rod.

Aside from Rivera's stand out performance last night and for his career, the Yankees played well against the Mets in the finale, but curiously only scored four runs while amassing 11 walks. The problem was one that has plagued the Yankees all season and that is getting hits with runners in scoring position. After Mark Teixeira's two-run double in the top of the first, the Yankees failed to deliever with a runner on for the rest of the game. It's something that the Yankees still need to work on.

The Yankees can also take away a win for Chien-Ming Wang, his first of the season. The numbers don't show it yet, but Wang is getting better with each outing. He pitched into the sixth inning for the first time this season and seems to be gaining more confidence each time out. He is again being efficient with his pitches and looks to be getting stronger with each outing. It will take longer than expected but it looks like Wang is starting to get back into his groove from last season and with him back at full strength the Yankees will finally have the opening day rotation they were expecting.

It will also mean Phil Hughes will be able to go back to the minors. It will be a big hit for the bullpen, but the reality is Hughes needs innings and he isn't getting them at the big league level. Hughes will be back at some other point in the season for a spot start or two and possibly more bullpen work when September rolls around.

After a dark and dreary two weeks it looks like the Yanks are turning this thing back around and can now enjoy an off day.

1 comment:

Hawkeye said...

and Rivera has his first RBI in the same night on top of everything... funny how things work out sometimes