Well, we all lived through the highs and lows of that one together today. So I’m not going to spend too much time on a bullet-point recap. The Yanks now have to take three out of four from Detroit this weekend, and I have no idea who closes.
Let’s look for a second at Rivera. Around this time last year, Rivera mysteriously hit the DL with elbow tenderness, and I fear that this problem has been lurking ever since. Last week in Toronto, Rivera dialed it up a notch to strike out the side and preserve a win. Since then, his command and velocity have been off, and his numbers have suffered.
Since Toronto, Rivera has thrown 4.1 IP with bad results. Discount the first scoreless, hitless innings, and his last three appearances look like this: 3.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 K.
While many people were clamoring for Joba to pitch the 10th, that’s simply revisionist managing. In this situation every time, Rivera should pitch. No doubt about it.
But the results make me wonder what’s wrong with Rivera. Is he hurt? Is his elbow aching? It would appear so. He’s been wild in the zone and wild out of the zone. His stuff has no bite. All signs point to injury.
The Yanks blew a golden opportunity to steal a game today against the potential AL Cy Young Award winner. But more importantly they need Rivera. Hopefully, he’s okay, but I’m not overly optimistic right now.