Dear Mariano – I’m doing everything I can to work you into the ground. Love, Joe.

August 16th, 2007 → 10:36 am @ // 21 Comments

2006: Mariano Rivera shut down for most of September after experiencing elbow problems.

Spring training, 2007: Joe Torre says he’d prefer not to bring Rivera in to a game before the 9th inning to protect the 37-year-old reliever’s arm.

Rivera’s game logs since last Sunday:

August 12: 1.1 IP, 3H, 1R 1R 30 pitches. (For the ninth time this season, Mariano is asked to record more than 3 outs. He’s brought in in eighth with the Yankees on top by a score of 5-2, 2 out, and runners on first and second. He hits Ryan Garko with a pitch to load the bases before getting a force out to escape the inning. He starts the 9th with a 3 run lead and allows to singles and a double before recording a single out.)

August 13: Blown Save, 1.0 IP, 3H, 1R, 1R, 19 pitches. Gave up three singles in the 9th to allow the O’s to tie the game; Melvin Mora thrown out at plate to help snuff Baltimore’s rally.)

August 15: Blown Save*, Loss, 1.0, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 1HR, 27 pitches. (Brought in in a tie game in the tenth at home; gave up two doubles to start the inning and a home run on the fourth batter of the inning. Fourth HR of the season; he hasn’t topped 3 since 2001.)

You want more? OK: Taking out his rookie year, Mo’s opponent’s batting average, OBP, SLG, and OPS — all of which remain impressive — are the highest of his career’s. They’re also higher than Beckett’s, Okajima’s, and Papelbon’s. Even Manny D. has better numbers in everything except OPB, where Mo edges him, .290 to .294. His ERA stands at 3.46; it hasn’t been above 2.00 at season’s end since 2002. Since 2002, the latest in the season his ERA has topped 3.00 was August 11, 2002.

Now, I know I’ve been harping on Joe Torre’s bullpen use all season. But I’ve had good reason. (All of this raises a question: why aren’t we reading any of this info in our daily sports sections? Just wondering.)

* Brain fart: since Mo came in in a tie game, he took the loss, but that’s obviously not a blown save.

***

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Post Categories: 2007 Season & Joe Torre & Mariano Rivera & Yankees

21 Comments → “Dear Mariano – I’m doing everything I can to work you into the ground. Love, Joe.”


  1. MarshallDog

    6 years ago

    What’s even more confusing to me is how emany Sox fans seem to believe that Terry Francona mismanages his bullpen. They mostly base this on a few somewhat recent losses that stick in their head because the bullpen wound up blowing it, and completely ignore the fact that the Sox have the best bullpen in baseball this year. That is due in no small part to Tito’s management of his pitching staff.

    Reply

  2. rog

    6 years ago

    NY media (including the YES folks) were harping on Torre’s misuse earlier in the season, but not so much anymore. Mostly, I think, because they’ve won so many more games than they’ve lost since the ASB. Someone should make a stink about it, though, because I don’t think you’re going to see a very effective bullpen in the late innings once they get to the post-season, where they probably won’t blow teams out by 10 runs every game. I actually like the fact that the misuse of Mariano (and Villone and Vizcaino for that matter) is going to sneak up on the fans when the bullpen does collapse in the playoffs. It’ll be more fun to watch and enjoy their miseries that way.

    Reply

  3. MSGiro

    6 years ago

    MarshallDog,

    I think it’s valid to criticize Tito on his bullpen use this past weekend. After dropping 2 in Anaheim prior to that series and letting the Yankees get that much closer the mood should have been “win at all costs”, which meant that when the lead was cut to 2 or 1 on Friday that Oki should have come in immediately to shut it down.

    I do believe in the “throw them back into the fire asap” strategy so I wasn’t too upset to see Gagne on Sunday, but what really got me was seeing Snyder. Snyder is far more likely to let up a homerun compared to Tavarez and when you have guys who are swinging for the fences you might want the ground ball pitcher in there. On top of that you would have been an idiot not to know Millar was sitting on that curveball after looking like a fool on the previous one. Honestly, I think he stole one from Manny who is notorious for baiting hitters with bad swings just so they get it again (although that hasn’t worked so much this year).

    The bullpen is still great and it was on display against the Rays, but the Gagne acquisition has obviously created some challenges because he’s replacing a guy who has been the best 8th inning pitcher in all of baseball. As far as team dynamics is concerned that is an odd monkey wrench to throw into the mix.

    What kills me is the lack of clutch hitting lately or the fact that they are letting pitchers who are 1-8 with a 6.22 ERA dominate them for 7 innings. That is a concern. I don’t want to hear about who has scored the second most runs since the break. It’s inconsistent scoring as they put up 8 or 9 one game and then 1 or 2 the next. Their starting 5 just pitched the best 5 games in a row that I have seen in a long time and they went 3-2. 3-2 wins the ALDS, but it isn’t good enough to actually get them there with 1.5 months left in the season.

    Reply

  4. rln2433

    6 years ago

    This team seems to lack a consistent approach to hitting. 1st pitch swinging when a pitcher is wearing down or taking strike 3 (late in the game too boot), fouling off pitches that are middle in, spotting the pitcher 2 strikes, hit and run with Tek and Lowell?????, Crisp and Lugo not running wild on the bases, let’s all pull the ball while taking big and elongated swings, etc. A lot is made about the Sox having a high OBP but when walks and singles comprise a lot of your offense then you have problems. Take away a couple of games when the Sox scored ten plus and the overall results are a bit more sobering. Dice K should have a few more wins to his name if only his team could score runs more evenly. Beckett has been hosed on a few W’s as well.

    Who does this line up scare?

    Reply

  5. HFXBOB

    6 years ago

    There’s an article on this very topic by Joel Sherman in today’s New York Post. Sherman goes so far as to implore Torre not to use Rivera in the Tigers series and hand the closer duties to Chamberlain and Ramirez. Yeah, sure, he’ll do that, Joel.

    Reply

  6. rog

    6 years ago

    They won’t need a closer at all if the overrated Tigers wake up and play like men instead of little girls.

    Reply

  7. redsoxrantsfromchina

    6 years ago

    For what its worth, Jonathan Papelbon has not been called on to convert a 4 out save since April 8th.

    Reply

  8. redsoxrantsfromchina

    6 years ago

    It is mind-boggling to me that Jonathan Papelbon has not been called on to make a 4 out save since April 8th. Also mind-boggling is that the Sox have had the best one/two “set-up and closer punch” in baseball this season with Omajima and Paps. While I understand that Gagne has been brought in to shore up the bullpen, to act as insurance in the event of another Timlin arm or shoulder ailment, to help fill the void left by Donnelly and to reduce Okajima’ already way too heavy workload, it baffles me why Tito had to mess that Sunday afternoon against the Orioles with the “8th inning bridge to the 9th inning” modus operendi that had worked perfectly well all season.

    For more details on this see: http://redsoxrantsfromchina.blogspot.com

    Reply

  9. midwesterner72

    6 years ago

    I get the feeling That Chamberlain is going to take over more and more of Rivera’s role as the season goes on. I suspect that Rivera’s exhaustion will not affect the Yanks once playoff time approaches as they will have Chamberlain picking up more and more of his slack and giving him a much needed rest. As for the Sox, I think the old saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies the best here. They had a lights out bullpen set up before the Gagne trade. Why mess with a winning formula? Before he came no one was even the slightest bit concerned. Now Francona feels it necesary to disrupt everybody’s role in the pen just to appease an over the hill former star closer turned setup man, who- I am sorry- striking out the side in one game does not make up for losing us two games. Until he does something miraculous to win us two games we had no business winning- he freakin’ owes us for Baltimore! My feeling now, as it was pre- Gagne was that we should have stood pat on the pitching side as everything was working fine as it was. We should have used Pena, Murphy (reluctantly), Gabbard, and maybe another minor league prospect to get us a power bat with a good eye in the lineup.

    Reply

  10. tinisoli

    6 years ago

    midwesterner72,
    Standing pat with our pitching would’ve been really dumb. Donnelly is done for the next 12-18 months, Timlin has proven to be capable but also physically unreliable, and Okajima was being worked more than ever before. It was smart to get another reliever, and smart to get one of the best relievers in the game. It would’ve been nice to get a big bat, too, but it didn’t work out. And as the Sox are showing at this very moment in the first inning against the ace of the second-best team in the AL, their offense is capable of being good enough.

    Reply

  11. Gee

    6 years ago

    What tinisoli said.

    It was smart to get another reliever, and smart to get one of the best relievers in the game.

    …and I would add, very smart indeed to keep that same reliever out of pinstripes.

    Reply

  12. rln2433

    6 years ago

    One of the best relievers in the game? This more has blown 3 games for the sox inside the past 8 days. 3 Friggen Games!!!

    Should have let the Yankees have him. What a tragic performance tonight in a game when tonight was Jimmy Fund night.

    Reply

  13. rln2433

    6 years ago

    One of the best relievers in the game? This mope has blown 3 games for the sox inside the past 8 days. 3 Friggen Games!!!

    Should have let the Yankees have him. What a tragic performance tonight in a game when tonight was Jimmy Fund night.

    Reply

  14. tinisoli

    6 years ago

    Yeah, it was sad. Would’ve stung more though if the Sox had held a lead all game and/or hadn’t given K-Rod a blown save of his own. Both bullpens blew it. Delcarmen and Gagné. Shields and K-Rod. It happens. And sometimes great relievers have tough stretchese (see the topic of Seth’s post).Eric Gagné is still one of best relievers, and giving up on him now would be dumb. Pedroia would be dead and buried by now if fans had gotten their way back in April, and now he’s looking like Rookie of the Year. Let’s judge the wisdom of the Gagné trade when the season is over. Either way, the Sox needed an arm in the pen. If they don’t make that move, how do they handle the first game today if they don’t have another closer for game 2?

    Reply

  15. rln2433

    6 years ago

    The Red Sox front office has been a terrible evaluator of bullpen talent the past few years. The list of bad free agent signings is substantial and that they even have Okijima is a lucky stroke given that he was an afterthought. Gagne has already had a negative impact on the team’s playoff chances which is the opposite of what this acquisition was supposed to provide. Even if he miraculously turns it around his overall impact will likely be a minor plus.

    93MPH with no movement and a change up and curve that can’t find the plate? His last 11 appearances:

    10 IP
    21 Hits
    14 Runs
    4 BB

    Papelbon to save game one, Okijima to save game two.

    Reply

  16. tinisoli

    6 years ago

    Okay, but who pitches instead of Okajima in the 7th and 8th innings of game 1 if you reserve him to close game 2? Either way you’ve gotta use Gagné at some point, unless you think it makes sense to simply never play him again. It would hardly be “miraculous” if Gagné turns it around.

    Like any Sox fan, I realize there is a cathartic satisfaction in getting angry when a player shits the bed and then stating the obvious (‘Gagné sucks [right now]!’) about that player’s performance, but it just seems premature and unrealistic to write this guy off as just another bad bullpen acquisition by the front office.

    Reply

  17. redsoxrantsfromchina

    6 years ago

    Here is a gem from the Boston Herald. The second paragraph being the most eye opening–as we all knew the first paragraph.

    “Gagne has allowed 10 runs and 14 hits in his seven appearances with the Sox.

    But the dip in performance began even before the trade, as Gagne has given up at least one hit in each of his last 12 outings and has posted a 7.91 ERA in 20 games, beginning June 24.”

    For a more detailed discussion please see:

    http://redsoxrantsfromchina.blogspot.com

    Reply

  18. Gee

    6 years ago

    What about giving the front office credit for re-signing Timlin? At the time I thought this was an idiotic move (as, I recall, did Seth). Now it looks damn shrewd, especially for the $$. What about agreeing to move Paps back to the pen? And by what act of clairvoyance do we know that the Okajima acquisition was an “afterthought?”

    Wait, I get it. All the bad moves are caused by incompetence. All the good moves are dumb luck.

    There’s tight logic for you.

    Reply

  19. HFXBOB

    6 years ago

    Those numbers on Gagne about his performance before the Sox got him are a little misleading, if you look at the game logs. He had one really bad outing where he gave up 3 runs in an inning and that had a huge impact on the stats, because obviously closers don’t throw that many innings. It’s true he did have a dip in July from the previous 3 months but it wasn’t anything alarming. Somebody who watched all those games, however might see it differently. I hope the Sox scouts did their job.

    Reply

  20. rln2433

    6 years ago

    Okajima was not projected to have anything like the season that he is having now. He was a distant second to Dice-K when they were looking to land talent. That he has worked out so well is great and I am glad to have him but the front office is considering him as a steal much like Ortiz.

    Timlin….signing him based on last year’s performance was a leap of faith and I think that he can be effective but not as a core guy. Lot of miles on him.

    Papelbon went back to the pen for a few reasons. They had no one else to close, he wanted the job and as a starter he is nothing special since his velocity drops, he has no third pitch (not that his splitter is great) and he’s a 5 inning guy. He has been managed well this year.

    The front office rushed Clay Merideth to the big leagues, Francona put him in a bad spot then they dump him for Mirabelli? They give Hanson $4 million and for what? Piniero is starting and winning games for the Cards and what did they get in return for the guy?

    This front office makes bad trades or bad signings and it’s like, who cares? It’s only money. Plenty more where that came from. Or, when the chance comes to land an impact player they want to hold on to prospects. Think Roy Oswalt would be nice to have right now?

    Reply

  21. Gee

    6 years ago

    rln2433, some time you must share your mindreading machine with me. You know exactly what the Sox brass was thinking with each move they made, even without citing any evidence. It’s impressive, is what it is. Maybe you could apply for Murray Chass’ job when the Times finally cans his ass.

    Like I said. Bad stuff — incompetence. Good stuff — luck. See a pattern there?

    Think Roy Oswalt would be nice to have right now?

    Since we have one of the best rotations in the game, arguably the best, I’m not really sure how “nice” that would be in the scheme of things the Sox need right now. And the question is, Oswalt for who? My understanding from what I read in the papers at the time is they did try to get Oswalt, but couldn’t. Do you know exactly who the Sox were offering? Who the ‘Stros wanted instead? I don’t.

    ‘Cmon, fire up the mindreading machine. Inquiring minds want to know.

    Reply

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