Rays get to Rivera again

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Stat of the day: After his latest adventure
against the Rays this afternoon, Mariano Rivera has now allowed an un
Rivera-like nine runs this season after yielding 11 all of last season.

Of course, it’s well-documented that he’s already served up five
homers in just 23 1/3 innings this season. That’s the most he’s allowed
in a season since 2001 — but, of course, that was over the course of
80 2/3 innings. Pretty alarming, no? Following offseason shoulder
surgery, there were some early and obvious concerns about his velocity,
however he was throwing his cutter at about 93 MPH this week, pretty
much where it was before the procedure.

Bad outings from relievers tend to inflate statistics — and after
his last blowup against the Rays on May 7, giving up back-to-back
homers for the first time in his career, Rivera had a season-high 3.97
ERA. But since then, Rivera had allowed just one run over his last 11
1/3 innings pitched, including five consecutive scoreless appearances
leading into Saturday. He entered today’s game with a 2.38 ERA, the
lowest it’s been since April. Also, his trademark control remains
intact, with a 28/2 K/BB ratio thus far.

Yeah, I know, the sports-talk radio folk are gonna say Rivera just
isn’t the same pitcher. And maybe he isn’t. It makes for great drama,
especially when a fanbase has been spoiled for this long. But in a
bullpen full of Tomko’s, Robertson’s and Coke’s, Rivera is the least of
their problems.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.