Were the Red Sox classy enough to Mariano Rivera? Is the fat lady singing in the AL West? Will the Pirates pitchers be up to the task come October?
Those things and more on today’s HBT Daily. Well, mostly those things actually. Not much more. Whatever.
Last night Mariano Rivera played his last game at Fenway Park. While the game itself wasn’t very memorable, the message he left in the visitor’s bullpen during the ninth inning was:
Pretty cool. Pretty classy.
Mariano Rivera was honored Sunday prior to his last ever regular-season appearance at Fenway Park. The Red Sox made sure that was the only time he’d see the mound all weekend.
The Red Sox shook off a first-inning Yankees run with three of their own and routed the Bombers 9-2 for a three-game sweep in Boston. They claimed six out of seven games over the last week and a half to finish the season 13-6 against the Yankees. As the Providence Journal’s Alex Speier pointed out, the Red Sox are the first team to beat the Yankees 13 times in a season since the Orioles went 13-5 against them way back in 1976.
Tonight’s star was Daniel Nava, who went 4-for-5 with a couple of doubles. Mike Napoli hit a two-run homer off Ivan Nova in the first. Jarrod Saltalamacchia was credited with a steal of home in the fourth after Xander Bogaerts took off for second and Brendan Ryan failed to handle the throw from Chris Stewart.
Clay Buchholz, making his second start since coming off the DL, allowed just an unearned run over six innings, even though he wasn’t particularly sharp. He walked four and his fastball looked pretty hittable, but the Yankees couldn’t cash in. Their only run came after Curtis Granderson walked to start the first, reached third on an errant pickoff throw and came home on an Alex Rodriguez groundout.
Rodriguez later exited with right calf tightness.
The Red Sox are 11-3 in September and have 17 wins in their last 21 games. They own baseball’s best record at 92-59 and best run differential at +183 despite playing in the league’s toughest division. If they win five of their last 11 games, they’ll finish with 97 wins for the first time since 2004 and second time since 1978. If they go 8-3, they’ll reach 100 for the first time since 1946.
In his farewell tour this season, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has received many accolades. From scoreboard memos to hugs to, uh, sand sculptures, people haven’t been shy about telling Rivera how much his career has meant to the game. The Red Sox, often victimized by Rivera’s cutter over the years, played Rivera out in style by giving him a poem written by Red Sox poet laureate Dick Flavin.
The Red Sox also honored Rivera before the game.
In his final season, Rivera has a 2.30 ERA and 43 saves in 58.2 innings. He has a Major League record 651 saves. If he gets two more saves before the season is out, he will have reached 45 saves for just the fourth time in his 19-year career.
Joe Girardi is getting a ton of praise for keeping the Yankees in the playoff picture despite an incredible number of injuries wrecking the roster all season, which is interesting timing with the manager’s contract up after the season.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com broaches the topic of whether Girardi would ever leave the Yankees as a free agent or, short of that, if he can at least leverage the situation into a big raise. Girardi is from Chicago, so the Cubs job might be appealing, and high-profile teams like the Nationals, Angels, and Phillies may all have openings. And he’s about to finish up a three-year, $9 million contract.
General manager Brian Cashman has made it clear he wants Girardi back and Girardi has dropped some hints suggesting he plans to be back, such as revealing how he’ll try to talk Mariano Rivera out of retiring to pitch another season for the Yankees. Girardi has a .583 winning percentage in six seasons managing the Yankees, which is the equivalent of a 94-68 record prorated to one 162-game season.
My guess is that he’ll be back in New York, but for a lot more than $3 million per season.