You are currently viewing archive for September 2011.
Posted by: Patrick
In honor of his record 602nd save, Mariano Rivera has been named the American League Player of the Week.
Posted by: Patrick
Following a rain out on Friday, the Yankees played the make up game on Sunday, as part of a day night double header with Boston. The first game went New York's favor, as they took a 6-2 win.

After four innings, the second game was also going well for the Yankees, with Ivan Nova heading into the top of the fifth with a 3-0 lead. But, the Red Sox scored one run in the fifth and they another in the sixth.

To start the seventh, Nova allowed a double to Jed Lowrie. After J.D. Drew moved a pinch running Mike Aviles to third with a ground out, Macro Scutaro doubled in Aviles and Jason Varitek singled, bringing Scutaro around. That was the end of Nova's day: 6.1 innings, 8 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 strikeouts and no walks.

In the seventh, the Yankees added another run to tie the game up at 4. And that is where it would remain for the next 5 innings as the game went into extras.

Mariano Rivera was brought in, in the top of the ninth, to preserve the lead. The first batter he faced, Adrian Gonzalez, singled. He was lifted for a pinch runner, Lars Anderson and Aviles was able to get a bunt down to move the runner to second. J.D. Drew grounded out to first for the second out, with Anderson taking third.

Then, a fairly rare thing happened. When Marco Scutaro stepped up, Joe Girardi came to the mound to talk with Mo and the infield, prior to calling for an intentional walk. It was just the 2nd free pass that Rivera has issued this year and the 36th of his career, meaning that it has happened roughly once every 33 and 2/3 innings that he's pitched.

In the end, it paid off. Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out on a tough pitch, low and inside and the game remained tied.

The bullpen was able to keep the Yankees in the game. Following Nova's 6 and a third, the team threw 7 scoreless innings. But, the bats were quiet as the team collected just 6 hits over 14 innings - 1 of which came after the seventh. They had a number of chances, thanks to the 8 walks issued by the Red Sox, but they could not get it done.

The Red Sox finally broke the silence in the top of the 14th against Scott Proctor, who had relieved Laffey after the first out was made. Proctor allowed a single to a pinch hitting Darnell McDonald and then walked Scutaro. A Saltalamacchia fly out would mark the second out, moving McDonald to third.

But, it was Jacoby Ellsbury who came through for Boston, hitting a two out, three run home run to put Boston up by 3. The Yankees would go down quietly in the bottom of the 14th.

It's a no decision for Rivera, who has now pitched 61 innings on the season. His ERA drops 3 points, to 1.92. The Yankees will now close out the regular season with a three game set against the Rays.
Posted by: Patrick
Prior to Sunday's doubleheader with the Red Sox, Mariano Rivera was honored for his by the Yankees, his teammates, Steiner Sports and Manfredi Jewels, in recognition of his new place as baseball's all-time saves leader.

He was presented with a watch by Manfredi's Hublot brand, a $25,000 check made out to the Mariano Rivera Foundation from Steiner Sports and a fire helmet from the organization. The fire helmet was meant to symbolize a Waterford Crystal fireman's helmet that the team has commissioned and will present to Rivera at a later date.

Finally, teammates presented him with a piece of artwork featuring baseball cards from Topps. Watch on
Posted by: Patrick
In the clip below, posted on the Steiner Sports YouTube channel, Mariano Rivera talks about his childhood and the cardboard glove he used as a child. He even demonstrates how it was made. Watch below.

Via Glenn Davis.
Posted by: Patrick
According to SportsBusiness Journal, Mariano Rivera has signed on to appear in a new ad campaign for Arid antiperspirant. As part of the campaign, he will appear in a television ad that will be seen on national networks, including ESPN, TBS, TNT, Spike and FX. Watch the ad below.

Thanks Frank for the tip.
Posted by: David
As the season has been winding down and Mo was getting closer to breaking the all time career saves leader, I was trying to arrange to get to a game and maybe see history. I took vacation the week beginning September 19th and had thought about trying to get a ticket to the make-up game with the Twins.

However, my wife and kids really aren't baseball fans, but I have hooked my sister Bonnie. She was away until Monday afternoon and I decided maybe we should try for Wednesday afternoon.

I watched the historical game on TV at home in my den like so many others and Mo was masterful. I secured a couple of tickets for the Wednesday afternoon game and the two of us hopped on the bus to New York.

The weather was good and the game started out OK as the Yankees took an early 1-0 lead on an RBI double from A-Rod. Desmond Jenning took Hector Noesi deep to put the Rays ahead 2-1 and "Big Game" James Shields was masterful until the eighth inning. Girardi was mixing and matching using eight pitchers in all for the day. Tampa threatened all day and could have had more runs, but the bullpen got tough when it had to and the game remained at 2-1.

Eduardo Nunez led off the eighth inning with a line shot home run to left which just cleared the fence and the game was tied at 2. As I watched it seemed like Shields was tiring because Gardner was getting better swings off of him and eventually singled to left. Jeter worked a walk and the Yankees were set up with 2 on and only one out.

Joe Maddon relieved Shields with Howell and Cano lined a double over the head of B.J. Upton and Gardner and Jeter scored easily to take the lead at 4-2.

Mo was summoned to close the door and this time a win would mean the Yankees would clinch a postseason berth. I recall being at the first game of the ALDS in 2009 and writing that fans on television really don't get the full picture when Mo enters the game to the strains of "Enter Sandman" by Metallica.

As the song is playing, Mo is jogging in and the video board shows the crowd with people playing air guitar and just sheer adoration. This time his family and friends were present and when the video board showed them with their shirts bearing the flag of Panama on them, the fans exploded.

Mo did not disappoint! He got Desmond Jennings on a grounder to short for the first out. He struck out B.J. Upton swinging and Evan Longoria hit the first pitch to center field which Granderson caught to end the game and the Yankees are postseason bound for the 2011 season. Mo recorded his 44th save of the season and 603rd of his career. His 2011 season ERA was lowered to 1.95.

Bonnie and I returned on the bus just as the 2nd game was ready to start. The game was in delay because of rain and periodically we checked the score on our phones or Bonnie's son Rob was sending us texts. Eventually we got into radio range and the bus driver got the game on the radio and we were in heaven.

As we got into the Pocono Mountains, we lost reception and hit road construction and did not arrive home until shortly after 10 PM. I got home and the game was in the seventh inning and the scored tied at 2. C.C. was tiring and Robertson came in and threw one pitch to induce a double play to end the eighth. It was just like the first game but the nite cap was especially sweet as Bob Lorenz from the YES Network had just reported that the Red Sox lost and a Yankee win would clinch the AL East.

Jorge Posada delivered a pinch hit two run single and Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth for the save and the Yankees were 2011 AL East Division champions.

I watched the champagne celebration and went to bed after a truly fantastic day.
Posted by: Patrick
John Healy of The Quinnipiac Chronicle spoke with Quinnipiac University freshman Mariano Rivera Jr. about his dad's record breaking 600th save.

“I’ve always said that my father is the best no matter what. The numbers didn’t prove it but now finally the numbers can back that up. That’s just such a reassuring feeling now,” Rivera said.
Posted by: Patrick
George King of the New York Post has a good interview with Mariano Rivera. They cover a myriad of topics. I found this answer interesting:

NYP: Did you have doubt that you could close games?

MR: The first month as a closer was hard. I was trying so hard to do the job that it was impossible for me to do it. I remember Joe calling me into his office and he said, “It doesn’t matter what happens, you will be my closer.” I mean you know and I know and everybody knows this, if I didn’t do my job, I wouldn’t be the closer. But I took those words as so encouraging that it was different. I had 43 saves that year.
Posted by: Patrick
Mariano Rivera is now the all-time leader in career saves. The former record holder, Trevor Hoffman, has released a statement praising Rivera.

"I want to congratulate Mariano Rivera on setting the all-time saves record," he said. "I'’s a great accomplishment and he is still going strong! I have tremendous respect for Mariano not just for his on-field accomplishments, but also for his service to the community."
Posted by: Patrick
After he became the all-time saves leader, Mariano Rivera chatted with YES Network's Kim Jones on what the mark means. Watch below.

Via Mike.
Posted by: Patrick
Mariano Rivera didn't waste any time. In the first game of the eight game home stand, he had a save opportunity, he took it and shut the door, with a 1-2-3 inning.

The Yankees gave starter A.J. Burnett a quick, big lead, scoring 5 runs in the first 3 innings. But, Burnett almost gave it all back, leaving in the fifth inning with a 2 run lead, a runner on second and no outs. Cory Wade relieved him and, after a walk and a single to load the bases, Wade was able to get a ground out and two strike outs, finishing the fifth with a one run lead.

From that moment, the pitching staff was lights out. Wade pitched 1 and 2/3 innings, followed by Boone Logan, who collected a single out and Rafael Soriano and David Robertson, each of whom pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

The Yankees offense only had 6 hits, but they made them count. Curtis Granderson hit a two run home run, number 41 on the season, in the first inning for the first two runs. In the second, Russell Martin scored Nick Swisher on a single. Two more runs were scored in the third thanks to a triple from Robinson Cano, scoring Alex Rodriguez, and a single from Swisher, which brought Cano around.

Rodriguez added an insurance run with an RBI single in the sixth to score Granderson.

Rivera was called into the game to start the ninth, to protect the 6-4 lead. Shortstop Trevor Plouffe was the first due up and he grounded out to second. Right fielder Michael Cuddyer came up next, working the count to 2-2 before hitting a lazy fly out to right field.

With just one out standing between him and history, Mo quickly reached an 0-2 count against first baseman Chris Parmelee. Just as quickly, the game was over with a called strike three.

After embracing teammates, who came out to congratulate him on the milestone, Rivera stood at the mound, smiling, tipping his hat and accepting the applause from fans, teammates and the Twins. It was a great moment for the Yankees closer and for the fans of the franchise.

As an aside, YES Network was also turning the camera toward the crowd, including the family of Mr. Rivera - and I noticed that Mr. Diaz, a regular reader of, was in the stadium. What a great moment to have enjoyed.

He now takes the top spot on the career all-time saves list, reaching 602 to pass Padres great Trevor Hoffman, another efficient, professional player of the game. For the season, it is save number 42, lowering his ERA to 1.98, the first time it has been below 2 since August 8.

Congratulations to Mr. Rivera. What an incredible career it has been - and it's not over yet.
Posted by: Patrick
Early on, it didn't look like Mariano Rivera would get a save opportunity on Saturday against the Blue Jays. Or even that the Yankees would get a win. Through 4 innings, the team was down 6-1. The Yankees offense didn't help matters with some sloppy base running in the fourth.

With a run in, down by a score of 4-1, Mark Teixeira failed to get a jump off third on an infield ground ball and did not attempt to score. On the ensuing at bat, Nick Swisher belted a ball into the right center field gap which looked like it would surely two runs. However, Rasmus caught the ball and Robinson Cano ran past Teixeira at third and was doubled off.

However, following those mistakes, the bullpen and the Yankees offense put together a great final 5 innings to open the door for Mo.

The Yankees scored 4 runs in the sixth and 2 runs in the seventh. In the sixth, a Mark Teixeira single scored Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez, after being held out of the lineup for 6 days, cleared the bases with a 3 run home run.

Granderson hit home run number 40 in the seventh, scoring Derek Jeter and capping a 3 for 3 day with a double, the home run, 3 runs, 2 RBI and 2 walks.

On the pitching side, Bartolo Colon lasted only 4 innings, allowing all 6 runs. But from there on out, it was lights out, no hit ball. Scott Proctor, Aaron Laffey, Hector Noesi and Rafael Soriano each pitched a scoreless, hitless inning. Soriano struck out all three hitters he faced.

Then, it was time for Mo. It took him 15 pitches to set Toronto down in order. Colby Rasmus was caught looking for the first out, on a pitch that may have been a bit outside. Rookie Brett Lawrie shattered his bat on a ground ball that Teixeira turned into an unassisted second out.

Finally, a pinch hitting Eric Thames flew out to Granderson give the Yankees win number 91 and Rivera save number 42 for the season and 601 for his career. His ERA was lowered to 2.02.

This brings him into a dead even tie with now co-all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman. Congratulations Mr. Rivera! Watch the moment on

The Yankees have 12 games left. There is one more game in Toronto and then the Yankees head home for a 8 game homestand against the Twins, Rays and Red Sox. Here's to hoping he gets Sunday off and can go after the record at home!

David Williams contributed to this post.
Posted by: Patrick
David Waldstein of The New York Times has an interesting write-up featuring conversations with Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and A.J. Burnett. They tell stories of how Mo has helped them or done funny things that show a different side to him.

Sometimes, Rivera’s encounters with players require a more compassionate tone. A year ago in June, when A. J. Burnett was in the midst of a confounding slump, Rivera found him eating alone in the lunch room and sat down with him.

“It was one of those things when he leaves the table you’re like: ‘Wow, he really said that? He really came over and said that to me?’ ” Burnett said. “It means more to the guys than he probably thinks it does. When he takes that step towards his teammates, it’s huge.

Thanks nycjobs for the tip.
Posted by: Patrick
A.J. Burnett made the start for the Yankees on Tuesday evening against the Mariners, going 6 innings and allowing 2 runs on 4 hits with 2 walks and 11 strikeouts.

The Yankees offense was led by Robinson Cano, who homered and drove in another run with a group out. Jesus Montero also had 2 hits and a run. Rafael Soriano and David Robertson held the lead with scoreless seventh and eighth innings, with the latter getting out of a bases loaded jam. This set the stage for Mariano Rivera, who entered in the bottom of the ninth with a 3-2 lead.

Former Yankee prospect Wily Mo Pena entered as a pinch hitter to start the inning. After bringing the count to 2-2, Russell Martin caught a foul tip for strike three. Ichiro Suzuki punched a single to right field on a 1-1 count, putting a runner on for third baseman Kyle Seager, who Rivera struck out swinging for the second out.

Dustin Ackley was the Mariners' final chance. But, this game wouldn't end in typical fashion as Ackley wouldn't get a chance. Suzuki took off, trying to steal second, and he was gunned down by Martin, with Jeter applying the tag.

Rivera earned save number 600 in his magnificent career. He is just one save away from the all-time record holder in that category, Trevor Hoffman, at 601. On the season, it is his 41st save, lowering his ERA to 2.05. The Yankees have 15 games remaining. Edit: Updated to reflect the correct number of games.

It may be easy to look forward to that milestone, but for now, let's soak in the enormity of this accomplishment. In the history of baseball, only two pitchers have reached 600 saves. Mo is one of them. Congratulations, Mr. Rivera.
Posted by: David
Neither Freddy Garcia nor Erwin Santana lasted long, but this game had a little bit of everything. The Yankees had a four game losing streak going and the only reason Yankee fans were not panicking was because the Red Sox have also been floundering.

The Yankees fell behind early as Howie Kendrick took Garcia deep to put the Angels out to a 2-0 lead. The Yankees would get one back when Eric Chavez drove in an RBI on a single. The Angels came right back against Garcia and scratched out a run to extend the lead to 3-1. Robinson Cano went deep to put the Yankees to within a run, but then Peter Bourjous went deep against Garcia and gave the Angels a commanding lead at 5-2 given the Yankees inept offense and rash of injuries.

Curtis Granderson came out of his slump and took Santana deep to pull the Yankees to within a run. Freddy Garcia gave up five runs in five innings but got out of a huge jam in the fifth without giving up any more runs.

The Yankees would take the lead when Brett Gardner singled and that was followed by a single to right center by Derek Jeter. Gardner went to third on the play and Scioscia decided to change pitchers. Granderson would strike out against Scott Downs but then Mark Texeira hit a fly to deep center which was a sure sacrifice fly, but Bourjous lost it in the sun and it fell allowing both Gardner to score and tie the game and Jeter to come around from first and give the Yankees the lead at 6-5.

Rafael Soriano got out of a jam in the seventh and David Robertson secured the eighth inning which set up Mo for his 40th save.

Mo would face pinch hitter Russell Branyan to start the inning. Branyan took Mo deep earlier in the season, but here he popped out to Austin Romine for the first out. Romine was just called up when Russell Martin was hurt last night thanks to a foul ball off of his hand. Erick Aybar got a chop single for his fourth hit of the day but then Howie Kendrick hit into a double play to end the game.

The save for Rivera was his 40th of the season and 599th of his career. He is now only 3 shy of surpassing Trevor Hoffman for the all-time career saves lead. The win coupled with the Red Sox loss extended the Yankee lead in the AL East to 3 1/2 games. Rivera's 2011 season ERA now stands at 2.09.

As a side note, Austin Romine's parents were in the stands as his brother is a player for the Angels. They were sitting close to the field and Austin went over to greet them after the game ended.
Posted by: Patrick
It looks like Mariano Rivera (or, at least, the people who represent him, in one way or another) are finally taking a crack at establishing an official online presence for the Yankees closer.

There is now a Mariano Rivera Facebook page, promoted by Steiner Sports and a Twitter profile linked from the Facebook page. No tweets have yet appeared, but let the record show that I am follower #46.
Posted by: David
This Labor Day was certainly not a pitcher's duel. Freddy Garcia and Brian Matusz simply did not have it. Garcia only lasted into the 2nd inning and surrendered seven runs. He was replaced by Scott Proctor and a slew of Yankee relievers leading up to Mo.

The Yankees got behind by 5-2 but came back with six runs highlighted by a grand slam home run from Robinson Cano to put the Yankees ahead at 8-5. The Orioles would come back to tie the score at 8, but then Jesus Montero took over.

Montero hit his first two major league home runs, both deep to right center. The first one was a solo shot and then the second came with one aboard and the Yankees had the lead at 11-8. The Orioles would inch closer at 11-9 and Rivera started the ninth inning looking to slam the door.

He got Matt Wieters easily by jamming him with a cutter and inducing a pop up to 2nd. Mark Reynolds would then single up the middle. Robert Andino flied out to right for the second out. Reynolds would take second base on defensive indifference and then would score on a single up the middle from Ryan Adams and the O's were within a run at 11-10.

Nolan Reimold pinch hit and Mo got a pitch too far inside, hitting the batter. Buck Showalter then got aggressive and pulled a double steal and the potential tying and go ahead runs were in scoring position. J.J. Hardy was the last hope and he came into the AB with 26 home runs and a recent three year contract extension. Rivera struck him out on a nasty cutter tailing away on the outside corner.

The save for Rivera is his 38th of the season in 43 save opportunities and the 597th of his career. He is now only 5 shy of surpassing Trevor Hoffman as the all-time career saves leader. His 2011 season ERA rose to 2.17.

The Yankee win coupled with a Red Sox loss now puts the Bombers 2 and a 1/2 games up in the AL East.
Posted by: David
Ivan Nova started off really shaky and it could have been a lot worse except for the brilliant defensive plays he got from Brett Gardner. Gardner made two running catches toward the left field line which saved at least two runs and possibly a lot more. Gardner would later tie the game when he connected for a two run home run off of Brandon Morrow.

Robinson Cano added an RBI later to put the Yankees ahead at 3-2 and that would end the scoring for the night. Nova settled down and gave way to Soriano in the eighth and "The Sandman" was called on to close the door in the ninth.

Rivera faced the MLB's home run leader, Jose Bautista, to start the inning and struck him out looking for the first out. Adam Lind was next and he was jammed by a great cutter and grounded to second. Edwin Encarnacion was the last hope for the Blue Jays. Mariano would get to a full count and then Encarnacion put a scare into the Yankee faithful as he flied out to the warning track to end the game.

The save for Rivera was his 37th of the season in 42 save opportunities and the 596th of this career. He is now only six saves shy of surpassing Trevor Hoffman for the all-time career saves lead. His 2011 season ERA was lowered to 2.04.
Posted by: Patrick
In an interview with MLB Network's Bob Costas, Mariano Rivera reflected on his career, talked about how he throws the cutter and shared his desire to get a little game time in center field. Watch below.

Via nycjobs via Sporting News.
Posted by: David
The Yankees jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as it took Jon Lester 41 pitches to complete the first inning. Lester struck out new Yankee call-up Jesus Montero with the bases loaded to end the inning. A.J. Burnett was much better as he only gave up two runs on a home run to Dustin Pedroia to temporarily give the Bosox the lead at 2-1. Lester would only last five innings and left with throwing over 100 pitches.

In the seventh, the Yankees would erupt. Andruw Jones battled a 14 pitch AB before walking and Montero was hit by a pitch to put the potential go ahead run on. Alfredo Aceves was replaced by Daniel Bard. With two runners on and Bard throwing heat, Martin hit a double up the alley in right center to score both runners and give the Yankees the lead at 3-2. Eric Chavez would follow with a line single to right to score Martin.

The Yankee bullpen took over and Soriano completed the seventh, Robertson the eighth and the stage was set up for Rivera in the ninth. Mo did not have his usual great command and walked two batters in the inning. Jed Lowrie walked to lead off the inning. Josh Redick then flied out to right on the first pitch of the AB for the first out.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out for out number two and AL MVP candidate Jacoby Ellsbury walked to put the tying runs on base. Rivera nemesis Marco Scutaro singled to right to load the bases and the game was in the hands of the AL's leading hitter, Adrian Gonzales. Rivera struck him out looking with the bases loaded to end the game.

Rivera threw 28 pitches in all without allowing a run and walked two and struck out two. He allowed one hit and left three runners stranded. The save for him was his 36th save of the season and 595th of his career. His 2011 season ERA now stannds at 2.08.

Mariano now only needs 7 saves to surpass Trevor Hoffman as the all-time career saves leader.
Posted by: Patrick
Newsday has a cool section dedicated to Mariano Rivera's run at the all-time saves record, slicing his stats in a number of interesting ways, including how many innings he's pitched per save, how many batters he's face, the people who have ended a game against him the most and more. Check it out.

Thanks nycjobs for the tip.