Rafael Soriano is not only the fastest Yankee to untuck his shirt after a game, he’s a Yankee who has had much to do with where they are right now.
Mariano Rivera wrecked his knee May 3 and Soriano has been a rather competent fill-in. We’ll see what happens in October, but the Yankees have no complaints so far with 30 saves in 32 tries to go with a 2-1 record and a 1.68 ERA in 51 games. Opponents have hit just .217 against Soriano.
After his 1-2-3 ninth Friday night against the Red Sox, he became the seventh Yankee to reach 30 saves since the stat began to be recognized on an official basis in 1969.
“It’s not easy to replace a closer, especially someone of Mo’s talent,” Joe Girardi said before Saturday’s 4-1 loss. “You talk about what Mo has done over his career. I don’t know where we are if Soriano … I mean, you start losing four or five games that you should’ve won, it’s different. And then there are concerns about how you’re closing games out.
“He’s meant a whole lot to this club and has accepted that role and has done a really good job and has ran with it.”
Soriano looks intense out there, but there is another side to him, according to Girardi.
“He’s fun loving … relaxed, good in the clubhouse,” Girardi said. “I enjoy being around him. He makes me laugh. He gets on people just like anyone else in the clubhouse. He’s fun.”