Mariano Rivera hadn’t pitched in a week, so manager Joe Girardi used him in a non-save situation this afternoon to close out a 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays, and the appearance was the 1,000th of Rivera’s amazing career.
He becomes the 15th pitcher in baseball history with at least 1,000 appearances (the first to do it with one team) and, not surprisingly, Rivera’s adjusted ERA+ is the best of the bunch by a huge margin:
MARIANO RIVERA 1000 205
Hoyt Wilhelm 1070 147
Trevor Hoffman 1035 141
John Franco 1119 138
Kent Tekulve 1050 132
Lee Smith 1022 132
Roberto Hernandez 1010 132
Goose Gossage 1002 126
Jesse Orosco 1252 126
Mike Jackson 1005 126
Mike Timlin 1058 125
Dan Plesac 1064 118
Dennis Eckersley 1071 116
Mike Stanton 1178 113
Jose Mesa 1022 101
Jesse Orosco is the all-time leader with 1,252 appearances and Jose Mesa has the honor of being the worst pitcher to ever appear in 1,000 games, by virtue of his career adjusted ERA+ barely being above the average mark of 100. And just to put Rivera’s dominance in perspective, consider that the difference between his ERA+ (205) and second-ranked Hoyt Wilhelm’s ERA+ (147) is bigger than the difference between Wilhelm (147) and Mesa (101).
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.