Mariano Rivera is throwing potential red flags these days. This marked his third straight bad outing. He gave up at least one extra-base hit in all three, tying the worst streak of his career. Rivera said he couldn’t care less that he still tied Trevor Hoffman’s all-time record of at least 30 saves in 14 straight seasons.
“As long as I do my job, that’s what I want, and lately I haven’t done it,” Rivera said. “It won’t make me and it won’t break me. But games like this get me upset because I’m not doing what I should be doing.”
Is he just in a little lull or is he finally acting his age? He has five blown saves, two losses and a 2.40 ERA. Rivera said he feels fine physically and that it’s just one pitch hurting him each time. He said he isn’t concerned. But lefties are hitting .269 off him, maybe not the best sign when it comes to his signature cutter. Bobby Abreu, who hit the two-run homer off him Tuesday night and handed him the loss, and Russell Branyan, who hit the three-run shot in this 6-5 win, are both lefty hitters.
Joe Girardi did his best to calm any onset of mass hysteria.
“I’ve seen Mo have three or four bad days and then run off a long streak,” Girardi said after this latest problem outing. “So I don’t think all of a sudden Mo has forgotten how to pitch. He’s in a little blip in the radar screen and he’ll get back on track.
“The thing I’ve noticed is he’s missed his location. That’s going to happen. As much as we want to think that he’s about as close to the perfect closer that we’ve ever seen, he’s not perfect. It’s going to happen from time to time. It’s happening now. Fortunately, it didn’t cost us today, and we move on.”
*Rafael Soriano was tested in back-to-back games, and he passed. He has been looking great in the seventh. Overall, this was his sixth consecutive scoreless inning and outing since he returned from the DL July 29. This game marked the first time he had even given up a hit, and it was just a single.
“I have a lot of confidence right now and I feel pretty comfortable the way they’re using me right now,” Soriano said through an interpreter. “I think that makes a difference.”
*Bartolo Colon was back to being more efficient after two starts in which he combined to throw 199 pitches in 9 2/3 innings. He threw 90 this time and lasted six innings, allowing two runs and five hits. His sinker was working for him. He got a no-decision, so he’s still 8-6 and his ERA is 3.31.
“Bartolo’s kind of had a rebirth here,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s been throwing the ball harder than he has in quite a few years.”
*Alex Rodriguez is set now to DH for Single-A Tampa at Dunedin Friday night, the start of his rehab assignment.
*Robinson Cano’s grand slam gave him 20 homers and made him just the second player in franchise history to hit at least 20 in three straight seasons as a second baseman. Joe Gordon was the other.
*Curtis Granderson has four homers in the last three games. This is the third time this season he has homered in three straight games.
*Derek Jeter went 3 for 3 with a walk, including two infield hits. The Captain is batting .312 in 31 games since coming off the DL July 4.
*The Rays come in for a three-game series starting Friday night. CC Sabathia and David Price are the starters in the opener.