Bad night for Closers

Last night was a game that was tightly contested for 8 innings on both sides, featuring a well pitched game by Phil Hughes and an even better showing by Dice-K. Hughes was outstanding before allowing 2 leadoff walks in the 7th (more on that later), giving up just 1 run on a double that was poorly played by Nick Swisher and a legit single to Victor Martinez. Diasuke Matsuzaka was even better than Hughes, dazzling the Yanks all night long and giving up 2 Runs on a bloop single by Tex and a 2-Run HR to Alex that just cleared the auxiliary scoreboard in right field. It wasn’t even a bad pitch, in on the hands about belt high. That’s one where you just tip your cap to Alex, who’s been sizzling hot the past few days.

But by the time the two Closers entered the game, it looked like neither side wanted the win. Mariano Rivera was asleep at the wheel, allowing 4 stolen bases without once throwing a ball to 1B/2B or checking a runner. Posada’s throws weren’t good, twice he didn’t even attempt a throw. But those steals were clearly on Mariano, and even Joe Girardi pinned the blame on Mo in the post game. When asked what happened with all the steals in the 9th, he said  “They got good jumps on Mo”. It’ll be interesting to watch his next few outings to see if he pays more attention out there. As troubling as it was to see this gaping flaw, it’s better to have this exposed now than in the 9th inning of a decisive game in the ALDS. In an odd way, the Sox actually did us a favor.

Buster Onley tried to pin Mo’s recent struggles on his usage, Tweeting this after yesterday’s game:

Big win for the Yankees Sunday, but there is this concern for the NYY: Since Mariano Rivera was asked to pitch on back-to-back days on Sept. 11, after throwing two innings Sept. 10, his numbers (and performances) have been ugly: 5.2 IP, 9 hits, 6 ER, three blown saves.

I’m not buying it. He hadn’t been used in almost a week prior to those back to back outings, and he’s worked back to back 10 times previously this year. 3 innings spread out over two days after 6 days off isn’t exactly abuse by Girardi, even for a 40 year old. It’s part of a Closer’s job description to work back to back games if there are wins to be preserved. Mo’s just in a slump, it happens every year and this year it just happened to come in September.

From the Red Sox side, Closer Jonathan Papelbon had some choice words for Home Plate Umpire Phil Cuzzi last night:

“Really rough tonight, considering the fact that I’m not only pitching against the hitter, I’m pitching against the umpire,’’ Papelbon said. “When you’ve got to do that against this lineup, you’ll never be successful.’’

…Cuzzi’s strike zone forced Papelbon to give in to the hitter and throw pitches more on the plate than he was comfortable doing.

“When you’ve got to do that, you’re in a lose-lose situation,’’ Papelbon said. “Just call the game. There’s 27 outs. Call the game. Don’t let the crowd influence you, don’t let the hitter influence you, don’t call the pitch where the catcher catches it. Stay focused for 27 outs and call the game.

“I’m not blaming the umpire. I could have definitely battled a little bit more out of that situation. I’m not one to complain about pitches, no, I’m not one to do that at all. But when you’re pitching against an umpire and their lineup, nobody can win in that situation. It’s impossible.’’

He happens to be right, watching the K-Zone on the ESPN broadcast last night he had numerous hitters struck out multiple times, most notably A-Rod. But you can’t win these arguments with umpire without coming across as a whiner. Even when you’re right, you’re better off keeping your mouth shut.

0 thoughts on “Bad night for Closers

  1. Guess Papelbon doesnt realize, if the umpires actually did call it right, he wouldnt have had a chance to blow the game, the AB with Bill Hall was absolute garbage.

  2. I dont know how

    “I’m not blaming the umpire”


    “Really rough tonight, considering the fact that I’m not only pitching against the hitter, I’m pitching against the umpire”

    adds up, but thats ok. No one ever accused good old Paps of being the brightest bulb in the box.

  3. Mo should not have been brought in the eighth,he does not have have young arm anymore, girardi has been saying for the past few years he would not bring him in that role ,but that is panic joe.. Mo needs to not start and stop…close three outs with a lead and thats it..simple…he had logan for ortiz or let wood walk him and pitch to the next guy..or go get another righty..i know he has come in 115 times in the past ,but thats just it ,he is not the kid from the past..Mo should rest until friday…tonight should be an offensive game..

  4. If papelbon has been paying the slightest bit of attention to the game before he came in, or had he spoken to any of his other pitchers or coaches he would have been prepared for a tight strike zone that everyone had been squeezed by. But no, his self-absorption made it all about him. he was the only poor victim. i’d like to have the strike zone of Mariano vs Hall tattooed on his forehead.

  5. Post this Sherman article, I’d like to see it.Not because I think he’s right, I just want to see how Sherman of all people can tell us that Girardi is doing a poor job.Please give the Girardi bashing a rest for a day too.He played it right last night.It was a big game, he asked Mo for 4 outs.If Mo paid any attention to the runners he probably gets through that save.I don’t see any evidence that an extra batter(something he’s done before) caused him to falter.You go to your bst in big spots and that was a big spot.No need to point fingers, he just didn’t get it done, lets move on.  

    Joe .I don’t know how to post it,computer illiterate i am.. what does nbsp mean? Mo has been super great this year…until the texas series.. if it was my call, he won’t pitch again until friday..this not just a one game complaint, if it was i would be out of order..he has a bullpen full of arms..we should not be in this position in the first place..just his management sept. alone..his brain locked last night, golson should have been in RF in the ninth…pena should have been in as soon as tex touched first base, he is very slow let alone a broken toe…a double steal was just nunez..tex standing on first still…then he runs for tex …what is there to think about…you must stay out of the DP we have hit in a whole lot this year and killed you give me that point? forget the pen issues.. because we pulled it out does not mean we got it right..just lucky..