What’s wrong with Mo?

Shel-ley Dun-can
More draft signings

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.

Shel-ley Dun-can
More draft signings
  • Dude

    god that was disappointing. even after the HR i didn’t have much confidence – mo has frankly sucked lately and baltimore has a way of coming back.

  • RJ -Ct

    The Yanks now have to take three out of four from Detroit this weekend, and I have no idea who closes.

    Good point, especially considering the next week of games could be the most important of the season. Why, why can’t Torre not use Rivera in a tie game? So damn frustrating! You’ve gotta save him there. The coming weekend is more important than this game. Always get the feeling Torre is scoreboard watching.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    I should qualify that statement actually, RJ. I have no idea who closes if Rivera is unavailable. He’s not losing the closer’s role, but I’m convinced that something is not right with his arm right now.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    My guess is Viz will close (experience!) with Joba primarily setting up. On Joba’s off days, I guess Farns and Villone will set up. Scary thought.

  • Dude

    Edwar’s gotta be ahead of farnsy and villone now, hasn’t he?

  • RJ -Ct

    Ben, I didn’t mean it so much in terms that he was hurt or that he can’t be trusted, but he obviously could use some rest and Torre had the opportunity to to not use hime twice this week when he did. Now they can’t go to him tomorrow and my guess they will avoid him Friday as well.

  • Greg G.

    I realize that there’s going to come a time when Mo is no longer automatic, and I also realize that last year’s injury was disconcerting. However, I feel like every year Mo has a lousy week in August/early September, and every year questions about his health/durability/etc. come up.

    Maybe this is that year. Or maybe this is just one of those week-long hiccups. It’s happened before.

    And one more thing, if the Yankees “have to” take 3 of 4 from the Tigers, winning today does not change that need. Bottom line: until they clinch something, you can always make the argument that they HAVE TO win every game.

  • DKA

    Thank goodness we did what we did these past few weeks and have made these games count. Losing two of three here still has us in a very good place to make a move.

  • Marc

    1. he’s 37 years old… has closed an awful lto of ballgames and has throw almost an extra season due to appearances in the post season.
    2. he does this every august. for two weeks every august Mo isn’t mo and all i read is how he is finally losing a step.
    3. I was at the stadium today and was embarrassed to ehar so many fans boo Mo. Do people not realize that the reason the yanks have been so successful is because of him. Why not let some of these eople ask Bobby Cox how many titles the Braves would have won if Mo had been theres and we woulda had wohlers, rocker, etc.
    4. we live and die with him so appreciate him now for what he is and what he’s been because odds are he is the only one who is truly irreplaceable.

  • http://SportingGurus.com Adam

    The answer is Derek Jeter.

    The question is “Who was the most valuable Yankee of the last 10 years.”

    Rivera is a closer, and that means, mainly, that he doesn’t throw a lot of innings, and that cuts his production way down.

    Rivera was never, ever the most valuable Yankee of any season.

    However, having him is a really good thing, and things might have been different without him.

  • Joseph M

    This is a classic Torre blunder pure and simple. The last few years Mo has come up with a dead arm that usually lasts a few weeks. Now Sunday could have been just a bad day but after Monday it was time to shut Mo down for a few days. Hell, Torre has other options right now, Torre has history with Mo but like the robot he is he brings him in and the Yanks blow the game. Until Mo is righted he should only be brought in with a two or three run lead.

    Mo will be fine with a little rest, he’s not the problem, it’s Torre, and his inability to use his bullpen effectively.

  • Relaunch

    I agree. The last 4 years, it seems around August, he has a rough 4-5 appearance stretch. If it prolongs longer than that, then I would be concerned.

  • http://SportingGurus.com Adam

    Expect a DL appearance, and then go read “Under the Knife”, where you’ll read about how the DL appearance means nothing.

    Typical, standard issue stuff for Rivera now.

  • boylestock

    how many times in the last two months have you been worried about MO..he has been unbelievable since April..his ERA April 2 was 10 …it is now about 3.00….He has two bad appearances and everyone is in panic mode…quit your bellyaching and shut up.

    anyone that boos MO is an idiot.

    as much as some fans do appreciate MO…i don’t think the greater majority of people will appreciate him until he is no longer closing. …..sadly

    “Torre has history with Mo but like the robot he is he brings him in and the Yanks blow the game”….one of the more ridiculous statements i have seen here.If Torre did not bring in Mo he would get killed for the same crap…his bullpen decisions may be questionable at times…but a call to Mo is not time to make that call…even in a tie game.

    and how often does Rivera blow the game like Robot Torre puts him in for…..he has itched 10 times in last 30 days….so he should not be tired…considering 3 were just to get him some work

  • Count Zero

    Couple of comments.

    1) Anybody who boos Mo is an idiot plain and simple. There are frequently a lot of idiots at the stadium.

    2) I know this goes against the book, and against any reasonable decision, but…when Duncan tied it in the 9th yesterday, I said right then and there, “Bring in Joba to pitch the 10th.”

    I’m having this 1996 deja vu thing. Joba comes in in the 7th or 8th and just manhandles people. Then Mo comes in…not so much. Seems like Mo and Wetteland all over again.

    I know, I know — small sample on Joba, no real pressure experience, he’s gonna’ be a starter next year, etc., etc. Doesn’t change the fact that yesterday afternoon, I wanted to see Joba in the 10th. Not after Mo came into the game — but before the 10th even started.

  • http://SportingGurus.com Adam

    Then that’s really crazy of you. You just want to see Joba pitch, it’s not that you think he’s actually better equipped for that role.

  • Count Zero

    You may be right about that. However, after Mo’s outings on Sunday and Monday, I actually felt more confidence that Joba would hold down the O’s than Mo. :-o

    Again — I fully realize all the inherent contradictions in that thought, but that’s how I felt. I honestly wasn’t surprised when Mo blew that game yesterday, because you can see he’s in one of those mini-slumps he gets at some point every year.

  • Count Zero

    I should add that I don’t think that’s any reflection of who I think is “better equipped” for the role.

    I know A-Rod is a “better equipped” to win a game at the plate than anyone else on the Yankees. But regardless of that fact, there are times when Alex is in a little slump and there is a pitcher on the mound who he doesn’t hit well, etc., etc. and for that instance, he is not my number one person to be at the plate in a game-winning situation. Tell me you don’t agree…

  • Mike K

    1) The reason Torre brought in Mo yesterday is plan and simple, to get him out of his funk. Every manager that I’ve ever heard speak about this sort of thing says the same thing, that, when your closer is in a funk, you wanna get him in there to allow himself to get out of it. I might take issue with this philosophy if our closer were, say, Byun-Hun Kim, however I have no problem with the philospophy when Rivera, more often than not, is nearly untouchable. For once, Torre made the right bullpen move.

    2) For this reason, if he’s injured, he hasn’t told anyone about it yet.

    3) 3 of 4 would be a godsend. But lets look it over: The Tigers have two very good pitchers going this series: Verlander and Bonderman. Despite have a ‘flu bug’, there is a solid chance that Verlander obliterates the Yanks tonight (because they simply can’t hit good pitching)and Bonderman needs to be the Bonderman of late than the Bonderman of October ’06 for the Yankees to have half a chance. I’d be more than satisfied with a .500 weekend.