Mo blows first save of 2013 as Mets walk-off with win

Flores & Sanchez homer in wins
Lineup help coming, but at all the wrong spots

For the first time this year, the Yankees have lost three consecutive games. They were the final team to do so in 2013. It’s the latest into a season they’ve without a three-game losing streak (51 games) since … wait for it … 1955. Yeah, it’s been a while. The Mets walked off with their second straight 2-1 win on Tuesday night.

Cap, tipped. (Elsa/Getty)

I don’t get upset when Mariano Rivera blows a save and takes a loss. The other team beat the best and they deserve some credit. David Wright and Lucas Duda had solid game-tying and game-winning singles following Daniel Murphy’s bloop-ish ground-rule double, so a tip of the cap to them. Mo was a perfect 18-for-18 in save chances coming into this game, and as Joe Girardi said afterwards, “you knew at some point (a blown save) would probably happen.”

This was the first time in his career (!!!) that Rivera failed to retire a batter in a save opportunity. First time ever! It’s the third time he’s done it overall, with the other two times coming in 1995 and 2008. The Yankees had been a perfect 28-0 when leading after eight innings coming into this game. Like I said, it happens. Mo has earned a perpetual pass in my book.


At Some Point You Have To Score More Than One Run
Eighteen innings in the series, two runs scored. The Yankees needed an outfielder miscue to score their only run for the second straight game, as Marlon Byrd misplayed Brett Gardner‘s leadoff single and allowed him to advance to second. Lyle Overbay plated him with a two-out single later in the inning. That was it, there’s the run.

The Yankees actually had some chances against Matt Harvey, stranding runners at first and second in the third, a leadoff runner at first in the fifth, and runners on the corners in the eighth. Their offense consisted of seven singles and zero walks, and yes, I know Harvey is excellent, but this lineup sucks. Especially now that the blush is off the Vernon Wells rose and Ichiro Suzuki has to play everyday.

Gardner (Temporarily) Saves The Day, Again
This one wouldn’t have left the yard, but for the second straight night, Gardner made a brilliant running catch in left-center field to rob Murphy of an extra-base hit. This one came after a real tough at-bat with no outs and a man on first in the sixth inning, so at the very least the ball would have put men on second and third with no outs had it dropped. More than likely, it would have scored the runner (Ruben Tejada) from first. To the video:

That is every bit as good as Monday’s homer robbery. Maybe it won’t get the same recognition because hey, robbing homers is cool, but the degree of difficulty is basically the same. Gardner had to run full bore with no time to slow down and settle under the ball. He caught the ball towards the end of his glove as he was twisting around and crashing into the wall. Pretty spectacular.

Ho hum, another day another stellar effort from de facto staff ace Hiroki Kuroda. The veteran right-hander limited the Mets to four singles in seven shutout innings, walking zero and striking out seven. He threw 72 of 110 pitches for strikes (65%), including first pitch strikes to 20 of 25 batters. Sixteen of his 21 outs were recorded on the infield. Kuroda deserved better.

Another gem of a game for Chris Stewart, Miracle Catcher™. He took a nice 0-for-3 with two strikeouts at the plate (willing to give him a pass because of Harvey) while committing his second passed ball in as many nights. It didn’t cost them in this game. What did cost them, however, was Stewart’s inability to corral Gardner’s throw home on Wright’s game-tying hit, allowing the go-ahead run to move into scoring position. As Girardi said after the game, that ball “has to be stopped.”

I thought Reid Brignac quietly had a nice game. He went 1-for-4 at the plate and made a handful of nice, rangy plays at shortstop. Balls Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, and Jayson Nix couldn’t dream of getting to. Brignac also made a nice tag on a pickoff play at second to end the sixth inning — he blocked the bag and Tejada didn’t get his hand on the base until well after the tag. The ump initially ruled him safe too, but then changed it up and correctly called him out. Nice little game for Brignac.

David Robertson rebounded from Monday’s rough outing to throw a perfect eighth with one strikeout between Kuroda and Mo. Gardner was the only Yankee with two hits, and he hit the ball hard in all four plate appearances against Harvey. He’s been playing very well on both sides of the ball of late.

Oh by the way, Mariano Rivera passed Dennis Eckersley on the all-time appearances list in this game. He has now appeared in more games than any right-hander in baseball history. Think about that.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
One thing I hate about WPA is the lack of context. At the highest point, the Yankees had an 85.2% chance of winning according to the stat. That doesn’t account for Rivera being historically great, however. I feel like the win expectancy, even with the little one-run game, was like 95%. Oh well. has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Both the Red Sox and Orioles lost, so the Yankees remain tied atop the AL East in the loss column (percentage points behind Boston) and three up on Baltimore.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Technically, this series is over and the Bombers got swept. In reality, it’s just moving across town. The Yankees and Mets will play game three of this makeshift four-game series on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, when David Phelps gets the ball against fellow right-hander Jeremy Hefner. For last-minute deals to that one, check out RAB Tickets.

Flores & Sanchez homer in wins
Lineup help coming, but at all the wrong spots
  • forensic

    Kind of disappointed there was no mention on it on the broadcast, and a little disappointed that you didn’t mention it here, since you’re usually pretty good with this stuff, but…

    With tonight’s appearance, Mo moved into 4th place on the all-time games pitched list by himself, passing Eckersley. More importantly, he’s now pitched the most games ever by a right-handed pitcher. The three guys ahead of him (Orosco, Stanton, and Franco) are all lefties.

    Sucks that it’s in a game like this, but pretty cool nonetheless.

    • Dalek Jeter

      Mike agreed with you apparently ;)

      • forensic

        heh, nice.

  • villapalomares

    i could have sworn the double leading off the ninth was a bloop and the game winning single was a jam shot. only wright’s game tying single was hit hard. that’s baseball suzyn.

  • villapalomares

    and did they really give gardner an error on the throw home? stewart should have blocked it; it was right on line.

    • El Maestro

      Not to justify Stewart, but Mariano has to be behind him and he was in the mound like another fan watching the game. That’s baseball 101.

      • WhittakerWalt

        There is NO justification for Chris Stewart. EVER.

        • Evan3457

          Oh, Romine’s a pretty good justification.

          • forensic

            I don’t, and have never, expect Romine to be able to hit at the Major League level. But, at least with him you’re sort of working and looking toward the future. Chris Stewart isn’t even doing anything defensively, which is supposed to be his calling card.

            After this season, Stewart is arbitration eligible, which will hopefully and mercifully end his end his time in pinstripes. They aren’t gaining anything by giving him all this PT over Romine.

    • http://RAB I remember the CBS years!

      The great girardi’s favorite catcher, 1)Had another passed ball. That doesn’t count the other three he missed with the bases empty. 2) Hasn’t stopped, caught, blocked or tagged a runner out on a throw from the OF in two years. Cervelli had two and Romine one this year. They play him like slow pitch softball. Every other team takes a chance on a young player, bring up Sanchez or Murphy and send down Romine to play every day. Don’t give me they haven’t got the tools or the experience…They can’t be much worse then what we have and we can see if they do have it. I never thought I’d miss Cervy this much. I’d almost beg Posada to come back. Can someone pass a note to Wells to lay off the irst pitch, or the pitch a foot outside, or the high cheese, of the bouncer in the dirt. I see him look at the scoreboard…is he looking for confirmation that it was a close pitch or was that as bad as it looked? But, I digress. Jimmy Stewart would be better than Chris.

  • Eddard

    With a 3 game slide and the offense sputtering so much it’s no surprise that Girardi will hand the ball to BGDP to turn the ship around. And it’ll be nice to get our 2nd best hitter back in the lineup.

    Mo was going to blow a save eventually. The offense faced one of the NL’s best so there’s no shame in getting shut down. They should be able to get back on track these next 2 games. I think they’ll win them and then more reinforcements start trickling in. The replacements have done just what was asked of them and more.

    • Dalek Jeter

      Yes…it is no surprise that Phelps will be starting tomorrow, 5 days after his last start. It’s almost like there’s a reason, or a schedule…or a rotation of pitchers. So that they each get used once every 5 days…

      • Bob Buttons

        Now Eddard will try to pitch your idea to the teams.

    • Deathstroke Heathcott

      Sucks that BGVN isn’t getting the ball here but I have faith that phelpsie can get it done to. Let’s salvage a split at least.

  • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

    Kind of cruel that Gardner got the error on a throw that was 1) right on target, 2) could have and should have been cut off, and 3) went through Stewart’s legs.

  • Matt DiBari

    I was at the game tonight, so i may have missed the analysis that provided context, but was there any particular reason we took the bunt off for one pitch in Kuroda’s AB in the third? Because that seemed really silly and may have cost us a run.

    • Dalek Jeter

      None at all, and I’m surprised Mike didn’t mention it in the wrap up. I said at the time something along the lines of “for a career NL pitcher that was a terrible AB by Kuroda.” I agree it easily could have cost us a run.

  • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

    2009 Yankees record after 51 games: 30–21

    2013 Yankees record after 51 games: 30–21

    Yeah, I think we’re still in good shape.

    • trr

      thanks for posting smething positive

      • Dalek Jeter

        You say that like the game thread got inexplicably negative and nasty out of nowhere?

        • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

          Hey, not like I had something to do with it, right?

          • trr

            Ummmm, yes and yes.
            I posted a plea for civility and perspective at the end of the game thread.

            • TomH

              Civility? On the internet? The internet is the state of nature.

            • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

              I was being sarcastic, heh.

        • Bob Buttons

          Which is again why some of us like me avoids game threads.

          Misery loves company, but company doesn’t love misery back.

          • The Real Me


    • Winter

      No, the Yankees lost today. That means the season’s over.

      • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

        Sincerely, Greg

        • WhittakerWalt

          That’s right, because they lost today and still have to play the Red Sox. Who… lost today.

  • I’mVernonI’mVernon4U

    Mike said it best, Mo always gets a pass. Would have been nice if the offense gave the pen some more room to work with, but yea, I understand #Harvey.

    Mets fans are like cicadas. But instead of coming out every 17 years, they come out once or twice a year when the Mets manage to steal a win from the Yankees… and then vanish.

    Lets win the next two, better to win the last two than the first if we’re going to split.

  • Kevin

    I go with one stat that drives every Mets fan crazy.. 2000 World Series Yankees 4-Mets 1

    • The Real Me

      Which, unfortunately, is totally irrelevant in 2013. Is there anyone on either team playing right now that played in that series? Not counting those on the DL.

      • Yankee Fan 1

        Well Mo…Duh

  • Darren

    There’s been 12 more years of Mo since 2001 Game 7 and Yankee managers still haven’t learned that bringing the infield in is not a good move. All that happens is the jam shots get through to the outfield. Mo doesn’t give up may hard hit grounders to the infield. But keep plucking that binder Joe.

    • WhittakerWalt

      You’re really going to throw in a lame “binder” joke there?

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

      Ummm, when was the IF in? The Mets never had a runner on third in the 9th.

    • forensic

      The IF was never in during the 9th inning tonight.

  • your mom

    I don’t blame Mo for this one. Them Met bastards got lucky. Doesn’t help that the offense sucks balls and Stewart is Stewart.

  • forensic

    May can’t end soon enough for the offense, which has a really strong argument for being the worst offense in the league for the month.

    It really sucks because they didn’t take full advantage of their great pitching, which has a really strong argument for being the best pitching staff in the league for the month.

    • Winter

      Hey look! The Yankees pitching staff has the best ERA, the second best WHIP, the second best BB/9, the third highest WAR, and the third best BAA among all AL teams in May!

    • WhittakerWalt

      I’m too lazy to check Cano’s stats for May, but I suspect he’s going to be happy when this month is over.

      • forensic

        .247/.314/.473/.787 for Cano in May.

        • SFSDDCNY

          For all the talk about how the other guys stepped up in April, it seems pretty obvious that this offense will only go as far as Robbie’s bat will take them

        • WhittakerWalt

          That’s not great but it’s not as bad as I thought.

          • forensic

            That’s about the same feeling I had. Guess maybe he’s gotten a couple of late game hits to fill it up a little bit, after they don’t really have an effect on the outcome of the game, such as tonight’s 8th inning single. He was also hitting a little still the first couple of days of the month, so that helps a bit too.

    • Kevin

      Sadly,if we had a couple of our big bats right now..we’d be blowing everyone else in the AL East away.
      Then again,I can remember winnable games last year that were lost because we went for the homer every time up.

  • LK

    Kuroda’s putting up quite the year. And he has the disadvantage of not getting to face the Yankees /rimshot

    • Robinson Tilapia

      *golf clap*

  • Mick taylor

    Girardi should not have pitched to wright. I know duda got the game winning hit but if he comes up with the pressure of trying to get the game tying hit may be he does not get a hit. Then if you get duds out, the rest of the lineup is easier. Pitching to wright there with open base was stupid.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Yeah, worse loss of the year, tear your heart out your chest type stuff. Know what, though? I agree with Axisa. When you beat Mo, you’ve beat the best on the planet.

    And, hey, we’ve got BGDP on the mound tonight. Clearly he’s going to save the day (he probably will, actually.)

    Nice game by Brignac. Agreed. Chris Stewart embarassed me as a fan last night.

    Not a great sports night for me.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Worst. Whoops.

  • mt

    Lyle Overbay with another clutch hit – I know sabermetrics gods will not be happy but at least this year Lyle is “clutch”.

    Mets best player comes through with game tying homer in seventh on Monday and tying hit in ninth yesterday – got to tip your cap to him.

    I like how Gardner seems to have stepped it up on both sides of ball but as I said before season Cano has to generate RBIs – whether groundouts, sac flies, hits, homers, etc – as others get hot and cold around him for this particular offense. He should be the one “MVP type” constant – thought he would get pitched around a lot this year – saw it a little earlier when Robby was hot but recently he seems to be getting himself out instead.

    Just hope we can win next two games given the weaker pitchers Mets are throwing but on other hand Nuno may be due for a bad outing.

    Robertson stumbles in first game and then Mo yesterday – the world is coming to an end! Seriously scoring one run a game (in both games aided by the Met’s defense or we would have been shut out) is not a recipe for many victories.

    Poor Kuroda – ESPN said that he leads baseball with ten games (one ahead of King Felix and even ahead of Kershaw) in games of seven plus innings and zero runs since start of last year – too bad he could not win this one.

    First time I have really watched Harvey – he was impressive – 97 on the black is a nice thing to have in your back pocket. I know he is a young righty but I wonder what CC was thinking watching this guy who could do easy 95-97 (like he used to able to do at start of his career with Indians.) I used to be able to do that? As Sunday’s game thread mentioned, CC seemed to start showing visible signs of frustration on mound with his performance.

  • Kosmo

    Yanks .310 OBP .

  • Rolling Doughnut

    Our lineup blows, Stewart sucks and Mo is human. Move on. Good matchup for us tonight: Phelps v Hefner who has stats like these. 9.6H/9, 77 ERA+

    • The Real Me

      I still refuse to believe Mo is human. He was just faking it so everyone believes he is, but he is not!

  • Matt

    Rivera’s stuff is simply not good enough anymore to throw the same pitch in the same spot 3 or 4 times in a row without the hitter catching up. You have to mix it up. If the hitter is in a predictable count, you have to throw the opposite.

    Those 3 at bats were a prime example of how bad pitch selection can lose you a game. Murphy is a balanced hitter who can take the ball to all fields. You can’t just throw him cutter after cutter on the outside corner without making him think once about the cutter inside. On 2-0 to Wright, when he knows you want to get him out inside, you either have to bury that way in on his hands or throw a cutter away and hope he pulls off of it. You simply can’t throw that 2-seamer for a strike. Rivera hit his spot, but it was the wrong pitch. And then to Duda, he had seen all cutters inside. He knew it was coming and he cheated on it a bit. That is the perfect spot to drop one on the outside corner just to get him thinking, especially when you are behind in the count. Their approach might have worked against weaker hitters, but not against their 2-3-4 guys who can adjust.

    Just a complete mental collapse out there by the battery to give away a game that should have been won. And it is inexcusable to continue to let David Wright beat you in those sorts of spots, especially with a base open. Yes he’s the winning run, but nobody in that lineup is even close to the caliber of hitter if you walk him after falling behind in the count.

  • JohnC

    whatever you say genius!

  • mike

    Al;ot of good points in the thread – Mo has got to be backing up something instead of standing there like a dizzy old man watching people run around the bases….i still think Wright could get to second if the ball gets past stewart, but seeing Mo might have given Wright pause and kept the inning manageable.

    i dont know why Mo was pitching to Wright anyway…Duda is 1/10 the hitter, and the DP would be in order…maybe not an IBB, but pitching around Wright wouldn’t have killed them either.

    Robbie looks lost at the plate, and without Hafner the lineup is way too short.

    Brignac is a stud in the field….between the block on the pickoff and the nice play he made going into the hole, it showed what a difference a solid defender makes in the field. Unfortunately, he cannot hit to save his life, and his time as a ML on the Yanks will soon be at an end

  • Mandy Stankiewicz

    That last photo, Buck’s airbrushed hockey-style mask; I’d love to hear Artie Lange’s take on it.

  • Claudell

    I don’t get this part:

    “This was the first time in his career (!!!) that Rivera failed to retire a batter in a save opportunity. First time ever! It’s the third time he’s done it overall, with the other two times coming in 1995 and 2008.”

    So, was it the first time in his career? Or was it the 3rd time?

    • Mike Axisa

      He’s failed to record an out three times in his career. Once in a save situation (last night), twice in non-save situations.

      • Mike

        Do you know how many times Mo has blown a save before recording his first out of the inning?