Rivera blows first save of the season, Yankees lose in the 10th

I need to be careful when I boast. In yesterday´s open thread I pointed out Mariano Rivera´s incredible start to the season. In Tuesday night´s game the greatest reliever of all time allowed his first runs of the season, walked his first batter of the season and blew his first save of the season. We all know he´ll do these things every year. It´s just that there are moments when it genuinely seems as though Mo will go the entire year without giving up a run, or walking a batter.

A.J. Burnett was frustrating in this one, but kept the Yankees in the game. He allowed only three runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings of work, but walked six on 105 pitches. He left in the sixth with the bases loaded and the Yankees clinging to a 4-3 lead that looked tenuous at best. David Robertson came on and did his Houdini routine to hold the lead. He struck out both batters he faced on eleven pitches, nine of them strikes.

Jose Bautista hit a homer off Burnett in the first inning, giving the Blue Jays a quick 1-0 lead, but the good guys struck back in the second. Jorge Posada singled in Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez scored on a Russell Martin ground out, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead thanks to something other than the home run. The Blue Jays tied it up in the third, however, on an Aaron Hill sacrifice.

It looked like the Yankees were going to pull away with this one in the sixth. Curtis Granderson got a single, and then Mark Teixeira put one in the people to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. When the Blue Jays loaded the bases but only scored one in the bottom of the inning thanks to Robertson´s heroics it seemed like Toronto was running out of chances. When Granderson added another run to the Yankee lead in the seventh victory seemed like a foregone conclusion.

After Robertson, the bullpen continued to do its job. Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano allowed only a single base runner between them in the seventh and eighth innings. Shockingly, Mariano let this one get away, in a two run inning that included a rare wild pitch. In total Rivera was tagged for four hits, one walk and two runs. Every so often during the season Rivera gets lit up in a big way. This just happened to be one of those nights. The Blue Jays walked off in the tenth when Edwin Encarnacion scored on a Travis Snider double.

As frustrating as it is to watch the Bombers lose a game that was in-hand, there isn´t much to complain about when Rivera blows a save. It will happen from time to time and it happens to other teams a lot more than it happens to the Yankees. Bartolo Colon makes his first start for the Bombers tomorrow as the Yankees look to square the two game set at one a piece.

7 thoughts on “Rivera blows first save of the season, Yankees lose in the 10th

  1. Extra-inning losses such as this one tend to bring out the armchair managers, but ultimately, I’m not sure I have any major gripes. I have been reading a lot of complaints about using Nova instead of Pendleton or Noesi, but I can’t fault the manager for using a proven starter instead of either of two inexperienced guys called up from the minors. As for not using Boone Logan to pitch to Snider, there is perhaps a legitimate gripe there, but ultimately, it’s not like Logan has been setting the world on fire either. I also might have considered having Jones hit for Gardner in the 6th.

    I don’t buy the criticism of not letting Robertson pitch the 7th. At that point, the game looked very much in hand, and it’s not really prudent to plan for an extra-inning game when you have a 2-run lead in the 7th, with Joba, Soriano, and Mariano coming up.

    Ultimately, it’s a bad loss, but not one that I can really pin on anyone except Mariano. The Yankees (especially Brett Gardner) missed some chances. Gardner’s bunt was atrocious and killed a potential rally (stop having him bunt if he’s not a good bunter), but I understand the call somewhat because he has been anemic at the plate.

  2. Frank

    Props need to be given to Martin, who could turn out to be one of the best pick ups in recent memory for the Yanks. His defense was outstanding and the primary reason Burnett “kept the Yankees in the game.” To say Burnett pitched decently is being very kind. This guy couldn’t repeat his delivery if his life depended on it. He’s got 6 WP in 4 starts and should have double that but for Martin.

  3. I’m a big fan of Martin. So far he looks like a great acquisition.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Burnett pitched decently. But, he did pitch well enough to keep the Yankees in the game. He imploded in the sixth, however, and needed Robertson to yank his fat out of the fire.

  4. Everyone did his job in this game, except Mo. The Yankees had a 5-3 lead in the 7th. Robertson cleaned up A.J.’s mess brilliantly. Joba was perfect in the 7th. Soriano was nearly perfect in the 8th. That’s the script. Unfortunately, Mariano didn’t have it.

    My feeling is that whenever Mo gets lit up (and it does happen) all I can do is shrug my shoulders and move on. Most of the time, 99% of the time, the Yankees get a W out of this game. Last night just wasn’t the night.

  5. Dangerous Dean

    He isn’t human. He is probably a quart low on oil (or whatever cyborgs use for fuel). Run a diagnostic on his systems and send him back out there when you fix him.

    Seriously, I know he is the best closer ever. But he has to break down sometime. Geez, it seems like he is 50 already.

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  7. T.O. Chris

    This really is the only way to view this game. If Mariano blows a game what can you do really, the man is as close to perfect as this poisition gets, but like everyone he makes mistakes.

    The only real problem all night was Gardner with the bases loaded, but I wouldn’t have pinch hit for him there because a hit in that situation can really get someone going, and we already had the lead in the game so I’m sure Joe wanted his D for the last 3 innings with a 1 run lead, or more.

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