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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Postgame notes: “That’s what he’s down there for”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Sep 18, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Mariano Rivera, Chris Stewart

Joe Girardi was hoping the pitchout would do the trick. With two outs in the eighth, the Yankees were confident Rajai Davis would try to steal, and Girardi hoped a pitchout would do the trick. If it had worked, Dave Robertson would have gotten the third out of the inning, and Rivera would have been on schedule for a three-out save.

But it didn’t work, so Rivera entered the game a little early.

“I don’t think there’s any arguing who the greatest relief pitcher of all time is, and that’s what I went with,” Girardi explained to YES Network. “… (Robertson) has been there all year for us, I know that. Not necessarily (hard to make the decision), no. You think about things you might do in the game, then you make your decisions and you stick with them. … Mo’s been in that situation so many times. You talk about experience, experience, experience, and that’s what he’s down there for.”

Rivera got a ground ball in the eighth, pitched out of trouble in the ninth, and finished off his 44th save of the season. If the move was understandable because of the man who finished off the game, it was also unusual because of the guy who was pulled. Robertson’s been a trusted setup man for three years, but there’s little wiggle room for anyone these days.

“I thought once I threw the pitch out I was staying in to get Lawrie,” Robertson said. “But after I saw him coming, I knew I was coming out. It is what it is. You’ve got Mo back there. He’s pretty good.”

In the first five months of the season, Rivera had no saves of more than three outs. In the past two weeks, he’s had three such saves.

“We have to be prepared for that,” Rivera said. “I know these games are crucial, so everybody has to be ready because the call can come any time. … It’s a huge game. Huge.”

Vernon Wells, Ryan Goins• One pivotal non-move by Girardi came in the top of the eighth when Vernon Wells was allowed to bat against right-handed Steve Delabar. “I just felt good about Vernon getting the run in,” Girardi said. “Vernon’s been swinging the bat pretty decent, and I just felt that he’s a guy that can drive a ball, hit a fly ball, and get the run in.”

• Here’s what Wells said about the at-bat during a televised on-field interview: “I had some good swings today and he allowed me to get up in that spot. Thankfully I got the opportunity, and I’m glad I could repay him for it.”

• When the Blue Jays sent a pinch hitter to bunt with two on in the ninth, the Yankees met on the mound to discuss the play. They positioned themselves for an out at third base, and it worked when the bunt went to Lyle Overbay. “Even though we talk about it, we still have to execute it,” Rivera said. Turned out to be a huge play.

• Speaking of big plays: It was Brendan Ryan who chased J.A. Happ with a leadoff single in the eighth, and it was Curtis Granderson who kept the rally going with a single off lefty Aaron Loup. The RBIs came in three quick at-bats from Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano and Wells. “It happened in a hurry,” Wells said. “Four pitches happened and we got the lead.”

• Between them, Phil Hughes and David Huff allowed three runs through seven innings, with all three runs coming on a pair of home runs. Hughes allowed a two-run shot to Colby Rasmus and Huff surrendered a solo shot to Ryan Goins. Together, it was a quality start for the fifth-starter tandem.

• Hughes was pitching fairly well before the home run on a misplaced fastball, but clearly the Yankees are going into his starts fully expecting to make a move at the first sign of trouble. “I was told beforehand there was going to be a similar situation to the last start in Baltimore,” Hughes said. “… This is the situation I’m in, and I’m trying to embrace it as much as I can.”

• Final word goes to Wells: “Tonight (gives me hope). When nothing’s going our way, just in the blink of an eye we take the lead again. Hopefully this is something we can build off of and get back to playing the baseball we’re capable of playing.”

Associated Press photos





29 Responses to “Postgame notes: “That’s what he’s down there for””

  1. yankinvegas September 19th, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Let’s take care of business tomorrow and against SF and then see where we stand on Sunday night.
    By then we should know exactly who to root for the rest of the week.
    It’s amazing how 1 game can change your perspective. That’s a pennant race – or whatever you call where a 3d place team can win the WS. A Bud Selig Production.

  2. 86w183 September 19th, 2013 at 5:16 am

    Morning —- earlier riser today!

    Great win and yankinvegas is right it is remarkable how much the picture can change overnight.

    Win three of the next four and the final week will matter, regardless of what anyone else does.

    Watched the Blue Jays telecast and was somewhat amazed that they were so openly pining for them to sign Masahiro Tanaka.

  3. Doreen September 19th, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Good morning.

    I got nothin! I mean, they looked totally lost, and then they won. And they hang on to fight another day.

    What can you say?

    The feeling was the AL East would be competitive, but this is nuts. :)

    Several teams ending the season in a tie is not a preposterous scenario as things stand. It will be very interesting to see how all this plays out. As it stands today, neither of the wild card spots is sewn up. And 4 other teams are within 2 and a half games. There really is not one hot team, playing their way in. It’s 6 teams scratching and clawing hoping to be one of the last two teams standing. Then there is a play in game. And possibly tiebreaker(s). What are the odds that any if these 6 teams will advance once they get into the division series? I will be shocked if any of the 6 get past the first round. Doubly so if they make it to the WS. And winning the WS? If that happens, I’ll be dumbfounded.

    It can go one of two ways: so much energy and focus went into getting into the playoffs at all, and with no chance to rest or set up their rotations, the teams limp along and get eliminated in the first round; or, none of the above matters, and they run on adrenaline the rest of the way, find new life and really compete going forward. Or a third thing, is that one of these teams actually gets hot and takes off.

    And who wants to be the team gong to Oakland right after the play-in stuff???

    Are the Yankees up for this? Am I??? Lol

  4. blake September 19th, 2013 at 7:51 am

    10 games left …..need to win 8 or 9 of them

  5. Hassey September 19th, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Need much better starting pitching than ours to win 8 or 9 of 10

    Bah humbug, they blew a chance this year to do something memorable

  6. JCPD September 19th, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Glad they won last night. It means going to the game tonight still has some meaning instead of being window dressing. Either way, it will still be enjoyable to see how the Blue Jays honor Mo.

  7. upstate kate September 19th, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Good morning!
    I am thinking there has to be some maple theme when the Jays honor Mo. Perhaps some broken maple bats, or a lifetime supply of maple syrup?

    Initially, I wasn’t sure about the 2nd WC, but it does make for an exciting end to the season w/ so many teams still having a chance at the play offs.

  8. MTU September 19th, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Nobody beats that chair of broken bats.

    Easily the best gift IMO.


  9. MTU September 19th, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Have a great time Jim.

    Get us some good photos.

  10. MTU September 19th, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Hi Kate.

    Good to see you.

    Hope all is well with you, yours, and the 2nd cutest dog.


  11. disco stu September 19th, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Mo is just amazing … people have continued to point to the loss in velocity, the cutter not “cutting” as sharply as it used to, the blown saves in the 2nd, blah blah blah, but there he was again last night, in the 8th and 9th inning shutting the door yet again … and BTW, how many closers today are entering the game in the 8th inning with runners on? Not many, if any … and if there are some out there, how many of them are pushing 44 years old? Yeah, thats what I thought.

    Mo could be 60 years old and the Greg Kimbrels of the world can be throwing the ball 110 mph, and I’ll still take Mr. Rivera every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  12. Doreen September 19th, 2013 at 8:26 am

    The way things are going, I would not be surprised to see Girardi actually use Rivera twice on Sunday!!!

  13. upstate kate September 19th, 2013 at 8:30 am

    JC- are you attending the Jays game? Hope you are the good luck charm.

    MTU- We are all fine, just busy. The cutest dog turns 11 next month.

  14. MTU September 19th, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Managing w a sense of urgency is the right thing to do.

    At this point each game is pretty close to an elimination game.

    May as well take your best shot and leave it all out on the field.

  15. JCPD September 19th, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Kate, yes, I am going to the game tonight. Seats right behind the Jays dugout so I hope I get lucky and get some good pictures. MTU, I have no doubt about having a great time.

  16. MG September 19th, 2013 at 8:35 am

    I have to admit that last night’s rally surprised me, I switched off the game in the 6th inning and tuned back in after Granderson’s base hit in the 8th.

    Mo was terrific last night but Robertson is obviously pitching through something, his fastball isn’t very good and his curveball doesn’t have the same bite as usual.

    Many people point to age as the reason for poor performance and fatigue on the Yankees but the only two pitchers on the staff that have done a good job in the past few weeks are the two oldest ones, Andy and Mo.

    I think it’s just one of those years where not that much goes right-if they somehow put together a winning streak before the Rays series and make it relevant it will be interesting…

  17. MTU September 19th, 2013 at 8:45 am


    Good morning.

    What do you see for next year ?

  18. 86w183 September 19th, 2013 at 8:45 am

    It’s really cool that Andy and Mo are pitching so well down the stretch.

    Just win the next four, look up and see where we are. Gotta make sure the Rays games matter.

  19. MTU September 19th, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Guess MG has left the building.


  20. MG September 19th, 2013 at 9:00 am

    MTU September 19th, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Good morning.

    What do you see for next year ?
    MTU, good morning, I really have no clue-fantasy sports, including playing fantasy general manager, are of no interest to me.

    On the field, though, I think Jete is going to have a tough time coming back to be anything close to an every day SS and I’d like to see someone younger than Ichiro playing almost every day in the outfield.

    The other thing I noticed is that both the Yankees broadcasters and Girardi seem to be going out of their way to say nice things about Murphy, I take that as an indication that they think of him as someone with a future on the team-you haven’t heard them say diddly squat about Romine even though he’s played much more.

  21. MG September 19th, 2013 at 9:01 am

    MTU, I haven’t left the building, was just doing something else…

  22. MTU September 19th, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Thanks for your mini-take MG.

    New one ———>

  23. Jobafan September 19th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    For a good bit of levity see Wang from Taiwan’s post about the Brits commented on a recent Yankees/Rsoc game. Tongue in cheek but hilarious. Sorry I can’t post the link because, truthfully, I don’t know how. It is the previous thread towards the end.

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