Thank Mo for Yanks win


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.

Categories : Pitching


  1. bexarama says:

    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.

  2. AndrewYF says:

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

    Zen baseball, baby. Or selective memory.

  3. Mike Nitabach says:

    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 says:

      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%).

  4. Pete says:

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

  5. Turko says:

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

  6. dan genovese says:


  7. Brian says:

    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.

  8. 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

  9. sleepykarl says:

    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.

  10. Ross says:

    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.

  11. 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.

  12. Old Man says:

    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.

  13. Old Man says:

    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) says:

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

  14. Old Man says:

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

  15. Craig says:

    Actually Ramiro Pena pinch ran, not Kevin Russo.

  16. Ross says:

    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.

  17. mike c says:

    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

  18. godfather says:

    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.

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