UPDATE: Mariano Rivera sits out third straight save opportunity

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UPDATE: Mariano Rivera may have wanted to pitch today, but the Yankees turned to Boone Logan and then Alfredo Aceves to close out a 7-5 victory in a messy ninth inning. With a scheduled day off tomorrow, Joe Girardi apparently wanted to give Rivera extra rest before the series against Boston begins Friday.

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Unavailable for the past two games because of soreness in his left side, Mariano Rivera said this morning that he “feels better” and “could go out there” if needed this afternoon against the Orioles.
Actually, he said the second day off “wasn’t necessary.” Obviously it’s tough to blame the Yankees for playing it safe with Rivera, especially since Joba Chamberlain converted both save opportunities while filling in.
Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com notes that Chamberlain is the first Yankees pitcher other than Rivera to “record consecutive saves since Juan Acevedo in 2003 and Mike Stanton in 1998.”

Brandon Morrow shut down for the rest of the season

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Cubs closer Brandon Morrow has been out since the All-Star break with a bone bruise and biceps inflammation. In recent days there had been hope that he would be activated in the season’s final two weeks in order to be ready for the playoffs, but that’s not happening: Theo Epstein just said that Morrow is done for the season.

It’s not the first time good expectations for Morrow’s recovery were not met. When he was placed on the DL back in July manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t anticipate Morrow being on the DL for much more than the minimum 10 days. Two months later and here we are.

Morrow, 34, had an excellent season until the arm trouble started, saving 22 games with a 1.47 ERA and a 31/9 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. Once he went out the closer’s duties fell to Pedro Strop. Now Strop too is out for at least the rest of the regular season and likely more due to a hamstring strain he suffered last week while running the bases.

Bullpens become a lot more important in the postseason. The Cubs’ bullpen is becoming thinner.