David Robertson was the easy choice to replace Mariano Rivera as the Yankees’ closer, but now that Robertson is out with a groin injury manager Joe Girardi isn’t sure who’ll be taking over ninth-inning duties.
Asked this morning who’ll serve as the Yankees’ closer, Girardi told Danny Knobler of ESPN New York: “That’s a great question.”
Shawn Kelley might get first crack at the job, although for today’s game at least he’s unavailable. And he’s also a 30-year-old with a 3.70 lifetime ERA who picked up his first career save … yesterday.
Left-hander Matt Thornton has the most closing experience among the available candidates, which also includes Adam Warren, David Phelps, and Dellin Betances. Not a lot of inspiring options, although the hope is that Robertson can return from the disabled list in a couple weeks anyway. How about a two-week contract for Mo?
Entering Thursday’s NLCS Game 5, Dodgers outfielder Enrique Hernandez had never hit a home run nor even driven in a run in the playoffs in his four-year career. He had homered twice in a regular season game just twice and his career-high for RBI in a game was four.
Hernandez hit three home runs and knocked in seven runs to help power the Dodgers past the Cubs 11-1 to win the National League pennant and punch their ticket to the World Series. His first homer was a solo homer to center field in the second inning off of starter Jose Quintana. He blasted a grand slam to right field off of Hector Rondon in the fourth, then tacked on a two-run blast in the ninth inning off of Mike Montgomery to make it 11-1.
Hernandez is the 10th player to hit three home runs in a postseason game. Jose Altuve, of course, did it two weeks ago in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Red Sox. Before Altuve, Pablo Sandoval (2012), Albert Pujols (2011), and Adrian Beltre (2011) were the last players to accomplish the feat. As Jayson Stark points out, Hernandez joins Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Adam Kennedy, and Beltre as players to hit three homers in a series clincher.
Hernandez’s seven RBI set a new National League record for a postseason game. Only four other players — Troy O’Leary, John Valentin, Mo Vaughn, and Edgar Martinez — accomplished the feat.
No one has hit three home runs and knocked in seven-plus in a game… until Hernandez. He certainly picked a good time to break out.