Mariano Rivera

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.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
17 Comments

In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
4 Comments

In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

Screenshot 2016-02-07 at 10.16.43 AM
Elsa/Getty Images North America
18 Comments

MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
4 Comments

MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.