It took four months, but What’s Wrong With Mo? Week™ has finally arrived. He usually has one in April and another in August, but the April WWWMW never arrived this year. Anyway, the Yankees picked up Mariano Rivera with a tenth inning walk-off win against the Tigers on Friday night, snapping Detroit’s 12-game winning streak. Let’s recap the 4-3 victory:
- Ivan The Not Terrible: For the first time since Mike Mussina in 2003, a Yankees right-hander has thrown at least seven innings in six straight starts. Ivan Nova‘s seven one-run frames against the Tigers were hard-fought — only one 1-2-3 inning, men in scoring position in four of seven innings — but he struck out seven and didn’t allow the run until there was one out in the seventh. PitchFX says Nova threw just one changeup out of 97 pitches, otherwise it was all fastballs and curveballs. That’s been the recipe during this stretch, fastballs and curves. It’s working, obviously. Nova’s a definite bright spot at the moment.
- Blown: Like I said, WWWMW. Giving up a game-tying two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera is a little more understandable than Adam Dunn slapping the single through the left side, but they both tied the game in the end. Cabrera was limping around pretty badly after fouling two balls off his legs yet he still muscled the mistake pitch out. It was pretty damn impressive. All-time great vs. all-time great, and that time the Yankees all-time great lost. It happens. Mo will get back on track in no time, don’t worry. He always does. Still sucks he blew back-to-back saves like that.
- Backup Catchers Stick Together: Brett Gardner, who won the game with a walk-off ground ball single through the left side, really bailed out Joe Girardi for sticking with Chris Stewart in a bases loaded situation not once, but twice. He grounded into a double play in the eighth before striking out looking in the tenth. There’s no reason for him to bat in either spot ever. Thankfully, Gardner came through with the bases loaded in the tenth, tying a bow on a great night (3-for-5 with a walk). Two walks, a single, and a wild pitch set the winning rally up. Al Alburquerque did everything to help the Yankees outside of pitch underhand.
- Leftovers: Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his return to Yankee Stadium, and was predictably booed (mostly) … the Yankees scored their first run on an Alfonso Soriano ground out, their second and third on a Robinson Cano double … Ichiro Suzuki had three hits and Lyle Overbay had two … the Yankees drew eight walks as a team (third most of the year) including five in the final two innings … David Robertson threw a perfect frame, but Boone Logan was pretty shaky and had to be bailed out by Shawn Kelley … the Yankees wore their white-billed batting practice hats during the game to help fight cancer.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. If you’re still holding out hope they can sneak into the postseason: the Yankees remain seven games back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column with four teams ahead of them. Cool Standings says they have a 2.6% chance of making the playoffs, up from 1.8% following Wednesday’s loss. Progress! Phil Hughes and Anibal Sanchez is your pitching matchup for Saturday afternoon. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to boo A-Rod in person.