Thank Mo for Yanks win

Yanks win a game they had no business winning
Vazquez grinds it out against D-Backs
Seriously, the AP has no pictures of Mo from last night. Sad. | Photo credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP

Sometimes you have to wait to get to the good part. Sometimes that involves suffering for three hours before something really good happens. Last night the Yankees and the Diamondbacks played some sloppy baseball that covered up for shaky — to be kind in at least Arizona’s case — performances from their starting pitchers. Players were gifting outs to the other team, which killed a number of scoring opportunities. Instead of having an 8-7 game after three innings it was tied at two.

From there we saw a see-sawing of the score. Adam LaRoche put the Diamondbacks up by two. The Yankees came back to score on a groundout and then an infield single off the glove of a drawn-in LaRoche. Damaso Marte couldn’t hold Arizona scoreless in the bottom half of the inning, and it took until the Yankees’ last at-bat to pick up that tying run, a sac fly off the bat of Alex Rodriguez. Thankfully, at that point the Yankees were prepared to do battle in extra innings. The great Mariano was warming up.

Like all managers, Joe Girardi makes some odd in-game decisions. Even last night he pulled a strange substitution in the ninth. I had no idea why he took Swisher out of the game to gain maybe a step advantage with Kevin Russo. The trade-off didn’t make sense to me at the time. Why take out one of the team’s best hitters just to gain a fractional advantage on the bases? But then it became clear: Girardi planned to use Mariano, and he planned to use him for more than one inning.

This decision, too, seemed odd, if only because Girardi has played this situation by the book in every instance I can recall. A tie game on the road usually means that Mariano sits around and waits for the offense to capture a lead. Sometimes, as we saw in Toronto, it never happens. But because Javy Vazquez had pitched only five innings, Girardi had used many of the arms in his bullpen. Marte pitched an inning. Robertson pitched an inning. Chamberlain pitched an inning. Only Park, Gaudin, Logan, and Mo remained. Girardi made the obvious choice.

Part of that choice, it appears, came because Mo was not only the best choice but also the easiest. The Yanks, down by one, put the tying and go-ahead runs on base with none out in the ninth. If Teixeira and Rodriguez came through they’d probably have taken the lead. Girardi obviously wanted Mo ready for that situation. When A-Rod hit the sac fly to bring home Jeter and tie the game, Mo was already going through the motions. At that point it was a no-brainer. He hadn’t pitched since Sunday, and couldn’t pitch until Friday. Girardi not only made the call to bring in Mo, but he called on him for two innings.

Unsurprisingly, Mo pitched brilliantly and kept the game tied in the ninth. It took him 19 cutters, sitting at 92-93 mph, to sit down the Diamondbacks in order. There was a little scare when Kelly Johnson hit a fly ball to right, but it was just a warning track shot. Curtis Granderson wasted no time in showing him how it’s done. That meant Mo could come back in the bottom of the 10th with a chance for the win. The Diamondbacks didn’t go easily. In fact, Mo had loaded the bases with none out. Three pitches to Chris Young resulted in a pop out. Ditto LaRoche. It took five cutters, the last at 93, to finish off Mark Reynolds, but at that point the pitches didn’t matter. The great Mariano had delivered.

There was plenty of bad in the game. Both teams made plenty of mistakes that cost their team runs. The players knew it. Here’s Mo’s take, via Fack Youk:

We pulled this game [out] but we played horrible. It’s unacceptable, the way that we played. We can’t be playing games like that, you know? We are better than that are we are supposed to do what’s right in baseball.

A-Rod, too, knows they need to play better.

“Obviously, we’re not happy with the way we played today,” Rodriguez said. “We know we have to do a lot of things better. We’ll take the win, but we really don’t feel good about it. In order for us to do what we need to do late in October, we’re going to have to clean it up a little bit.”

In a way, this cancels out the terrible loss to the Indians earlier in the season. That’s how I’m going to view it. Mistakes were made, but when the last out was recorded it was the Yankees celebrating. They might have done so reluctantly, but they did nonetheless.

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Yanks win a game they had no business winning
Vazquez grinds it out against D-Backs
  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    Mariano is just… what else can you say? Thank Mo for Mo.

    I’m really glad both he and A-Rod know the team played like utter crap and said something. And thankfully, all wins count the same in the records.

  • AndrewYF

    Honestly, I can’t even remember what happened in Cleveland.

    Zen baseball, baby. Or selective memory.

    • Thomas

      Yanks blew a big lead in the 7th.

      Here is the recap: http://espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=300529110 (safe)

      • Riddle

        I was at that game. First game for me at the New Stadium, and 2nd total in New York. Had a great time though…

  • Mike Nitabach

    That was unreal! Anyone know how to find out the historical stats on the percentage of time that a run fails to score with bases loaded and no outs?

    • sleepykarl

      No quite sure on that, but Fangraphs had the D’backs at a win expectancy of 75%. Their highest % was when Posada struck out in the 8th (86%).

  • Pete

    I love when the yankees win crappy games that they played on the west coast when I was too tired to watch.

  • Turko

    Papelbon was also a hero yesterday. At least if you are a Yankees fan.

  • dan genovese

    IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT WE R ACTUALLY GAINING IN THE EAST PLAYING LIKE CRAP………………

    • Tampa Yankee

      Dude, seriously? You are always coming here and posting in all caps. Read the commenting guidelines:

      7. Any comment written out in all capital letters will be deleted. That’s just unnecessary.
      http://riveraveblues.com/river.....uidelines/

      • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        it is hard to believe that we r still having to remind him of this everytime……………………..

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          What would Derek Bell do?

          • http://www.soxandpinstripes.typepad.com/ Angelo

            Retire

          • jsbrendog (returns)

            buy some crack?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              HE HAS RETURNED!!!!!

              • jsbrendog (returns)

                yeah the new ateam movie ruined templeton peck for me. so molt i shall.

    • Jobu

      I’m out there Jerry, and I’m lovin’ every minute of it!

  • http://www.bronxbombersbeat.com/ Brian

    The Yankees should not have had to rely on Mo for the win yesterday. Way too many opportunities that were missed. With D-Kaboose allowing 7 walks in 2.1 innings, the Yanks should have capitalized, instead they were tied 2-2 when he came out. Hope this day off will help rejuvenate the offense.

    • Pete

      in the glass half full corner, there’s the fact that even if we play like crap and fail to capitalize on a ton of situations, if we put 20+ runners on base, we’ll win anyway.

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      there are 162 games. you will win many you shouldnt and lose many you shouldnt.

    • A.D.

      Nick Swisher and Tex should never be caught stealing, let alone in the same inning, let alone when the pitcher can’t throw strikes, but nice that it didn’t cost them.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It wasn’t the offense that needed to wake up last night, it was the baserunning.

        • sleepykarl

          I still don’t know how they only scored two on Willis after he couldn’t get out of the 3rd and had 7 walks.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Because they gave him free outs on the basepaths.

        • Jobu

          My understanding was that Lady Gaga may have been in the dugout so the guys didn’t want to miss the insanity.

  • http://baseballalamode.blogspot.com Ram’s Bladder Cup

    The last inning reminded me of my favorite Mo as Houdini game. Can you name this game???

    C. Ripken vs. M. Rivera Single to RF
    E. Murray vs. M. Rivera Single to LF; Ripken to 2B
    B. Surhoff vs. M. Rivera Single to RF; Ripken to 3B; Murray to 2B
    C. Hoiles vs. M. Rivera Strikeout Swinging
    B. Anderson vs. M. Rivera Strikeout Swinging
    T. Zeile vs. M. Rivera Popfly: SS

    • boogie down

      1996 ALCS Game 4 in Baltimore, bottom of the 8th, Yanks up 8-4

      -clearly, B-R is our mutual friend

  • sleepykarl

    It was very close to a 7/5/2008 outing vs Boston, except he did concede a run there. He came in up 2-0.
    JD Drew Single to CF
    Manny HBP (Moss ran)
    Lowell single to RF (Drew scores, 2-1)
    Youkilis HBP (bases loaded, 0 outs, up one)
    Crisp strikeout swinging
    Tek popup to 1st
    Lugo strikeout swinging.

  • Ross

    Thankfully, games like these don’t and shouldn’t stick in the memory for very long. The Dodgers aren’t playing well right now, and we have a bunch of games against listless Seattle before the break. If we can open a decent lead in the division (the team/offense is too good to keep playing like this, so I fully expect a solid month of good baseball soon) this grand suckfest will be gratefully forgotten.

    And hey, the team is going to lose at least 60 games this year. Good teams occasionally steal one of those and throw it over in the W column. Not saying we should be happy how they played, but it’s nice to see them take a game they should have lost.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    The Yankees were behind for most of the game until finally tying the game in the top of the 9th inning. What happened during the commercial break immediately before the top of the 9th?

    A commercial for RAB aired, that’s what happened.

    Correlation EQUALS causation. The RAB commercial started that rally, my friends.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      there was a rab commercial???

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I saw it watching the DVR’d game.

        • jsbrendog (returns)

          this needs to be on youtube if it is real.

          if it is not then i am gullible

      • rek4gehrig

        I saw it too :-)

  • Old Man

    Couldn’t stay up for the whole game. Combination of being old and being disgusted with the game. Waking up and seeing the Yanks had won was elating. Seeing what Rivera had done almost brought tears to my eyes, I was close to weeping at my desk at work. My hero worship of Rivera is so intense my wife wants me to see someone about it.

    • rek4gehrig

      Waking up and seeing Yanks won (Rivera style), Giambi homered off Papel, priceless

  • Old Man

    Also, love Girardi using Rivera on the road. There was a tie game on the road earlier in the season (too busy to look it up) that I thought Girardi should have used Rivera. He was rested, day off the next day, Yanks ended up losing the game with Mo sitting in the pen. I hate that.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      and this shows my fav part about girardi. he is constantly evolving and analyzing his previous actions and learning from them.

  • Old Man

    Last thing, pitch f/x is unreal. Thanks for helping me with that yesterday. You guys have a good day, back to the grind.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Have fun in the sea!

      • Rose

        Have faith in the Yankees, my son.

      • Old Man

        Also a huge Hemingway fan. Bigger Mo fan but Hemingway is up there. I snuck into Cuba and spent a week in Havana a few years ago and toured Hemingway’s house 20 miles outside the city. Amazing trip. But I digress Mr. tommiesmithjohncarlos.

        • Accent Shallow

          Now that sounds like fun.

          • Old Man

            Amazing. Get there before there is a McDonalds on every corner. Havana is basically in a time capsule. It was sad in a lot of ways but taking endless walks through Havana was a phenomenal experience. I didn’t want to leave.

        • Rose

          Bay of Pigs?

          • Rose

            Actually, Havana is on the other side…nevermind.

  • Craig

    Actually Ramiro Pena pinch ran, not Kevin Russo.

  • Ross

    By the way, Granderson is sporting a much healthier .318/.348/.636 line the last week. It would be nice to see him get hot and give the bottom of the order some much needed pop.

    Also, you can officially count me as off the Cervelli bandwagon. We all knew his BABIP was unsustainable but his at-bats have been awful lately and he’s rockin a sub-600 OPS the last month.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      he is who we thought he were

    • http://www.soxandpinstripes.typepad.com/ Angelo

      To be fair he’s been a bit overexposed, since he’s gotten a ton of playing time. Cervelli is a back up catcher. Anybody with a fair amount of baseball knowledge knows that.

      I’m sure you know these things. I’m just stating them.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Cervelli is a back up catcher. Anybody with a fair amount of baseball knowledge knows that.

        Yes, but what about Yankee fans?

        • abbey

          Cervelli in my opinion is far from a back up catcher. A decrease in his BA or OBP does not in any way shape or form make him a back up catcher. Girardi would not put up with that, or for that mather the Yankee organization. He is a superb, defensive catcher, probably one of the best out there, and if his BA stands at 270-280 at the end of the season, everyone will be extremely happy.
          The Yankee pitchers (all) love to pitch to him. He calls a great game and his passion and energy are tops.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Thanks for pitching in to prove my point, abbey.

            Yankee fans ≠ people with a fair amount of baseball knowledge

  • mike c

    gardner was the real life saver last night, he made a brilliant play off the corner hop to stop the tying run in from third and left mo with the lead

  • godfather

    It’s about time Mo were treated like the god he is. Only DiMaggio equalled the grace with which he does things. The escape act last night was a heist of the highest art. Seeing the bench react to his at-bat is one of the precious moments I’ll remember after watching this team for a mere seven decades. What a privilege it has been to watch is every move.