Mariano Rivera: is it time to panic?

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Mariano Rivera has blown three saves in his last six outings. In that time he’s given up six runs on nine hits in five and two-thirds innings. There is consternation about this in various corners of the Internet this morning. Is it time to panic?

While panicking can be quite fun, I’m inclined towards chilling out. Yes, Mo’s September 10th and September 11th outings in Texas led to the most pitches he’s thrown on back-to-back games all year: 44. But to the extent that led to anxiety that he was being overused, it should have been extinguished by the five days he got off between his last two outings. Sure, he blew a save again last night, but that had far more to do with his inattention to baserunners. The Sox stole four bases off him in the ninth, and they really were more Mo’s fault than Jorge Posada’s. It’s not like he got smacked around.

With a playoff berth all but clinched at this point, Joe Girardi can give Rivera a week off if he truly wants to in order to alleviate any fatigue concerns, even if those are valid.  My guess though: we’re so used to seeing Rivera dominate that when he has a bad little stretch like the one he’s having now, it seems more unusual and scary than bad little stretches from other, mere mortal closers.

But seriously, Mo: work on checking the runner once in a while, OK?

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.