Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez put his team up 5-1 with a seventh-inning grand slam against Giants reliever George Kontos. The slam was Rodriguez’s 24th of his career, overtaking Yankees great Lou Gehrig’s Major League record. David Robertson and Mariano Rivera teamed up to keep the Giants off the board in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively.
Watch the record-setting slam:
The slam was also Rodriguez’s 654th career home run, leaving him six shy of Willie Mays in fourth place on the all-time leaderboard. Rodriguez’s previous grand slam, which tied Gehrig’s mark, came on June 12 last year against Braves reliever Jonny Venters.
Including tonight’s action, Rodriguez now has a .261/.364/.458 line, certainly much better than many expected given his age, health, and off-the-field drama.
UPDATE: Pettitte has now made it official, issuing a statement saying: “I’m announcing my retirement prior to the conclusion of our season because I want all of our fans to know now while I’m still wearing this uniform how grateful I am for their support throughout my career. I want to have the opportunity to tip my cap during these remaining days and thank them for making my time here with the Yankees so special.”
Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that he’s “getting a lot of buzz” that Andy Pettitte will announce his retirement later today.
Pettitte previously retired after the 2010 season, sitting out 2011 before re-signing with the Yankees last year. He pitched very well in 2012 and has been a solid mid-rotation starter this season, throwing 169 innings with a 3.93 ERA and 117/45 K/BB ratio. He’s been particularly good of late with a 2.02 ERA in 49 innings since mid-August, so performance-wise Pettitte is certainly still very capable of being an asset at age 41.
If this is it for Pettitte he’s lined up to make his final two starts in New York this weekend and in Houston next weekend. Those are the only two teams he’s ever played for and Pettitte lives in Texas, so that’s a helluva way to go out.
UPDATE: Sherman has confirmation that Pettitte is indeed calling it quits and says the left-hander “has told friends this season has been very hard on his body physically, much tougher than he had anticipated.” And in a nice bit of timing, his final Yankee Stadium start Sunday is on “Mariano Rivera Day.”
River Avenue runs outside Yankee Stadium. Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post picks up the ball from some creative fans and launches a campaign to add an “a” at the end and change the name to “Rivera Ave.” as a means of honoring the retiring Yankees closer:
This is an idea too good to ignore, and so now we put the ball in the city’s hands, the way Joe Torre and Joe Girardi have placed baseballs in Rivera’s hands since 1996. It is worth noting Ferrara isn’t the only one who has been hit by the inspiration; a Yankees fan named Dan Salogub created a Twitter account (@161stRIVERAve) promoting the same idea: adding an A, renaming the street.
I’m opposed to this. Not because I have anything against Mariano Rivera as such, but because I feel like it’s been a year-long bacchanalia of honoring Rivera and isn’t enough enough? I mean, heck, we haven’t even gotten to the Yankees’ own sendoff of the guy and we’ve reached peak Rivera Reverence. What more can you do?
There’s also the part, as Vaccaro notes, that the city of New York won’t let you rename streets after living people. Which means we’d have to murder Rivera in order for this to go through. And while I don’t purport to be the most ethical or moral person on the planet, I have drawn a personal line just shy of killing the all-time saves leader in cold blood. That’s just how my mom brought me up.
As the Nationals’ cling to their playoff lives with a dramatic late-season run an unheralded 26-year-old rookie is piling up victories.
Tanner Roark, a former 25th-round pick acquired from the Rangers for Cristian Guzman in mid-2010 who didn’t make his big-league debut until last month, tossed seven shutout innings against the Braves last night to improve to 7-0 with a 1.08 ERA for the Nationals.
To record seven wins in less than two months is pretty remarkable, especially considering Roark was in the bullpen for most of that time. He went 4-0 with a 1.19 ERA in nine relief appearances totaling 23 innings and then moved into the rotation at the beginning of this month, going 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts totaling 19 innings.
Obviously he’ll come back down to earth eventually, but Roark’s raw stuff has also been very impressive with an average fastball velocity of 92.6 miles per hour and a mid-80s slider that has been nearly unhittable. And yet before turning into a cross between Pedro Martinez and Mariano Rivera for the Nationals he posted a 3.87 ERA at Triple-A and a 4.21 ERA at Triple-A.
Baseball, you try to explain it.
Alex Rodriguez on Mariano Rivera, after calling him not just one of the best pitchers ever, but one of the best athletes of all time in any sport:
. . . the biggest compliment or the biggest way I can share with all our fans and specially Mariano Rivera fans is that when the moment gets really, really, really tough, and New Yorkers can appreciate this about Mariano, the best Mariano Rivera always stands out. And he’s my hero and a role model and a dear friend.
On the one hand: I think we’ve stumbled upon a legitimately, observable and unequivocal flaw with Alex Rodriguez apart from PED stuff: his being unable to actually follow the example of his role models. Unless there’s a lot we don’t know about Mariano Rivera’s example, anyway.
On the other, more serious hand: I think it’s notable that Rodriguez, for all of his faults, has rarely if ever that I can remember said a bad thing about his teammates. Maybe I’m just blanking on something, but for all of his controversies, he hasn’t been involved in specifically clubhouse controversies. They are PR things and PED things and clashes with the front office, but I cant’ recall him slagging on teammates or managers.
Anyway: waiting for someone to go after A-Rod for “using the good name of Mariano Rivera” to cynically improve his own personal brand and PR profile or something. You know it’s coming.