Mariano Rivera gives it up at home for first time this year

44 Comments

Fresh off taking his fifth blown save Sunday in Boston, Mariano Rivera was beaten at home for the first time this year Tuesday, as he surrendered a two-run homer to Bobby Abreu in a tie game in what turned out to be a 6-4 loss for the Yankees against the Angels.

Rivera entered with a 0.37 ERA at Yankee Stadium this season.  He had allowed one run and posted a 19/1 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings.  He was — and still is — 17-for-17 saving games at home, compared to 12-for-17 on the road.  Since he entered a tie game tonight, he was handed his second loss of the year, but he didn’t get a blown save.

Abreu’s homer was just the second hit off Rivera this year.  The other came off the bat of Reed Johnson in the Yankees’ 4-3 win over the Cubs on June 18.

Abreu also homered off A.J. Burnett in the contest.  It was his 16th career multihomer game and first since Sept. 19, 2010.  He entered with just four homers this season.

The starters were pretty much a wash tonight.  Burnett allowed four runs in six innings before coming out.  Dan Haren had a 4-1 lead at that point, but he coughed up three runs in the seventh to tie the game up.

The Bombers tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth to let Rivera off the hook, as an Eduardo Nunez single and a Derek Jeter walk put the tying run on base with one out against Jordan Walden.  Curtis Granderson then hit a grounder that should have been a game-ending double play, but Howie Kendrick got lazy and the Angels weren’t able to turn two.

That made Granderson the tying run on first with Mark Teixeira up.  Granderson, though, was picked off with the old fake-to-third, throw-to-first move, taking the bat out of Teixeira’s hands.

Still, the story from tonight will likely focus less on Granderson’s blunder and more on Rivera’s struggles.  Rivera’s ERA is still strong at 2.23, but the blown save and the loss in consecutive outings is unusual to say the least.  Also, he’s now allowed as many hits in 44 1/3 innings this season (39) that he did in 60 innings last year.  His current batting average against of .241 would be his second highest mark in his 16 years as a reliever.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
2 Comments

Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

Kent Horner/Getty Images
1 Comment

Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.