Ever try to pitch the ninth inning with bile in your throat?


The ninth inning on Saturday was not pretty. Mariano Rivera entered a tie game, and promptly let the Rays hit him every which way, surrendering four runs (three earned) in a losing effort. This, of course, elicited three different responses. First, he’s old and he’s just no the same Mo. Second, he never pitches as well in non-save situations. Third, he’s fine and this kind of thing is bound to happen. Turns out that none were right (though the third group was closest).

Rivera was not fine. According to a teammate, as we learn from Yahoo’s Dave Brown, Mo was under the weather before the game.

For several hours before Rivera took the ball Saturday afternoon in that tie game, he’d suffered with a stomach ailment that brought aches and repeated vomiting, according to one Yankee. Rivera had rolled off the trainer’s table, where he’d hoped to sleep it off, and into the bullpen in the eighth inning, when he began to warm up.

I think that wording is a bit off. He didn’t suffer the stomach ailment before he took the ball. Anyone who’s had a stomach bug — and that’s everybody here — knows it doesn’t just go away. They don’t call it a 24-hour bug for nothing. Mo pitched anyway, and we all saw the results.

Why didn’t we hear about this before? Because Mo refused to make it an excuse. Not even after his success on Sunday did he mention his Saturday ailment. This is the kind of professionalism we’ve come to expect of Mo. He never says no when the manager comes calling, even if he’s just upchucked his lunch. True, it cost the Yanks on Saturday (when Phil Hughes could have just as easily pitched), but in the long run it’s an admirable trait, I think, to take the ball when asked and not make excuses afterward.

Categories : Death by Bullpen


  1. JeffG says:

    I really don’t like to second guess Joe because I think he usually makes the right calls when all facts are considered but this new info makes the argument that CC could have thrown another 20 pitches more solid.

    In the end, a manger is not always perfect, kind of like Mo. Can be pretty close though.

  2. jsbrendog says:

    my only question here is we applaud rivera for taking the ball and pitching even tho he is sick and prob shouldn’t have because he is a gamer who does not complain and goes when asked.

    but then people get all over bruney for nto saying somthing about being injured and doing the same thing….

    i know an elbow injury i a lot different than a stomach bug that will pass but its the same idea. pettitte usually gets praised as a warrior who goes out there no matter what healthy or injured and throws as best he can. but again, bruney had an elbow issue since spring training, strikes out like 12 dudes in a row and just wants to ge tout there and help and is derided for not being as team player and hurting the team by not saying he was hurt….

    so it goes i guess

    • Hobbes says:

      I would rather have the pitcher be honest, and say he can’t pitch. But, you know, give a 110%,and all. Go Sports!

    • Zach says:

      I see your point but I think the consequences (long term DL stay) of pitching with a sore elbow is far worse then pitching with a sore back(not herniated disk) or an upset stomach.

      • jsbrendog says:

        “i know an elbow injury i a lot different than a stomach bug that will pass but its the same idea.”

        even tho is aid almost as much above, its the idea. if you cant go you cant go. a streak like cal ripkens, playing hurt and not being able to give 100%, or pitching with a stomach flu and pithcing like a mere mortal hurts the team. and no matter your opinion on the matter whether it is stand up character type thing to do or it hurts the team, you ahve to amdit the double standard is stupid.

        andy has a bad back, says he is fine = warrior

        pavano has hurt elbow, says he is fine = scapegoat

        jeter has bad wrist cant drive ball, plays anyway, goes 200 for a month = TEH WARRIO CAPTAINSTUFF!!

        arod has a bum hip, cant drive the ball, says he is fine, blows last month of season = Worthless douchenozzle

        come on

      • whozat says:

        “I think the consequences (long term DL stay) of pitching with a sore elbow is far worse then pitching with a sore back(not herniated disk)”


        However, to speak to the Pettitte issue specifically…The sore back makes him suck. And there are other pitchers on the team (not even in the minors…on the big-league club) that could have started in his place and pitched better. And still, because he’s “earned it”, if he says he can go…he pitches. And is lauded for it.

        That’s dumb.

  3. Zach says:

    CC wasnt exactly dominating, he gave up 5 runs.
    The argument can be made that Mariano at 75% is the best option

    • Zach says:

      crap that was suppose to be a reply to the first message

    • Yaron Prywes says:

      Estimating Mo was at 75% after just throwing up is rather high! I wonder even if Joe was aware of Mo’s vomiting, anyone know? If not, there is a lesson here for the team regarding better, honest communication. Regardless, another important learning here for the team is that knowing one’s limits is as important as knowing one’s strengths. This is something all players have to keep in mind, not just VoMo.

  4. Moshe Mandel says:

    I dont believe it. The only possible explanation for Staurday is that Mariano is finished being a great player. Also, Joe Girardi is makes bad decisions.


    • jsbrendog says:

      i like the “is makes”

      a subtle jab at the lack of editing in the msm. and theyre all stoopid

      • UWS says:

        Yes, the typos and the bad grammar is what took it over the top for me, too. Well done!

      • Some call me...tim says:

        Or he’s tired of arguing with his iPhone :)

        JSB your eloquent and mature response almost prevented me from posting, but the anonymity of the Internet combined with it’s ease of use was too much…

        Hypocrite much?


        Brian Bruney’s Elbow

        And I don’t buy the argument that 75% of Mo is better than CC from 100-110 pitches. Jobs? Yes. Philly? Yes, for now (I have high hopes for both kids). If CC falters, you can bring in the vomiting Mo. If VoMo falters, you bring in Coke. Tired CC + VoMo > VoMo + Coke

        (Bourbon for me, and a VoMo and Coke for the lady-on the rocks.

  5. JGS says:

    Well, that’s probably why Joe didn’t want him pitching to Longoria. Still telling that he had no one else he could trust then. Why not pitch Hughes? If he could put up zeroes, he could pitch until the game ended

  6. JohnC says:

    Not making excuses, but I knew he didn’t look right on the mound Saturday. You could see he was kind of dragging out there, and his pitches had no zip on them. He did look kinda gassed out there.

  7. MattG says:

    I am kind of annoyed. I mean, there are no perfect people, so there aren’t any perfect ballplayers either, and I guess since you have to have a vice, pride is a pretty good one.

    But I don’t admire Rivera for this. Honesty is a really good trait to honor, the type of honesty that would make you say, “I think Phil might do a better job than me right now.”

    TB, bottom of the order, vs NYA, top of the order–that’s a win 2/3rds of the time. So, yes, I am kind of annoyed.

    • JP says:

      Bottom of the order includes Zobrist, who I will tell you in a year will be one of the 10-20 best hitters in the American League.

  8. Arman Tamzarian says:

    What it comes down to for me is this, Is the player’s effectiveness level dropping the the point that it hurts the team, and is not just replacement level. In this case it’s a bad idea to play to go and play. If Mo honestly thought he could pitch at a reasonable level, then great, if not, He’s not doing he’s hindering the team.

  9. M.D. says:

    Mo’s gonna pitch until he’s like 45.

  10. Ben, I think your Death By Bullpen tag here is particularly apt

  11. “sleep it off” – I just usually associate that with hang-overs.

    Never figured Mo for the early morning of drinking type.

  12. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    Mo is still not as gutty as Jeremy Bleich. That guy is pitching without an elbow.

  13. LiveFromNewYork says:

    And Mo probably had no idea that he couldn’t do it. Mo is never of the mindset that he can’t do it. And that is what makes him Mo.

  14. JP says:

    I say your conclusion is flawed.

    Even if he was sick, it could still be age. How many times in his youth did he pitch while under the weather? I’m sure he’s done it before.

    If you think back on all the years this guy has pitched, the instances of him getting lit up are as rare as hen’s teeth. Not saying it’s rare for him to give up a run, or an occasional homer, but he was like Edwar out there Saturday. Everyone was tagging him. Are we saying he NEVER pitched while sick, all those years? I doubt it.

    I don’t remember seeing so many solidly hit balls off him ever.

    Age is catching up with him. That doesn’t mean he won’t be one of the best relievers in the league – I believe he will continue to be one of the 3-4 best closers in baseball. But age is catching up with him.

    My unscientific assessment is that he’s maintained his dominance and fought off age the last 2-3 years by becoming even better with his control. While I don’t think his strikeout rate has declined much, the number of solidly hit balls off him seems much higher than it’s ever been.

    • Zach says:

      Age is catching up with him, but still top 3-4 best closers in baseball. So what the hell is everyone worrying about?

      Dude’s almost 40 and better then 95% of the closers out there. Papelbon has a WHIP 30 points higher then Mo and he only has four 1-2-3 innings all year

      Yes Mo’s been hit, he also has a BABIP of .346, which is 40 points higher then where it should be. Oh, and he has 1 blown save all year.

      • JP says:

        I’m not worried, if you’re referring to me. I don’t know about everyone else.

        Now, it’s not like he’s lights out anymore or incredibly overpowering like he was 10 years ago. He isn’t. Where it will show up is that good hitters will get on more, and we’ll see more balls driven.

        It ain’t like we have any choice, because there isn’t anyone who could step in and take his place and do any better, but if anyone thinks the playoffs will be a worry free breeze in the 9th inning this year, you got another thing coming. There will definitely be some tough moments, and I am expecting he will definitely have bad playoff innings. I hope I get surprised and won’t…

  15. Bo says:

    Maybe the pen needs a few more reliable arms so you can give a sick day off to the one reliable arm there.

  16. GG says:

    That 2/3 of an inning that cost the Yanks the game on saturday almost cost me ERA and WHIP in my fantasy league….but I wont them both anyway

  17. We’re boring, yet you continue coming back. This makes sense how?

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