I’ve written a few times that it just doesn’t seem fair to the baseball-loving public for Mariano Rivera to retire when he’s still so clearly an amazing pitcher, if only because I want to find out exactly how long he can continue posting a sub-3.00 ERA. 45? 50?
Anyway, apparently Yankees manager Joe Girardi agrees, because on the same day Rivera notched his record ninth 40-save season Girardi told Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York that he plans to try to talk the 43-year-old future Hall of Famer out of retiring once the season is over.
I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year, I don’t. He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do. … I’m sure I’ll talk to him at some point in the offseason and … I’ll tell him when the season’s over, “Take a month. Take a month and a half, two months, and make sure this is really what you want to do. Because once you do go, it’s hard to come back.”
For his part, when asked about Girardi’s plans Rivera said: “I told you guys already. I don’t know why we’re talking about this. I’ve already made my decision.”
Meanwhile, he has a 2.12 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio in 51 innings and could end up with his most saves since 2004. Keep playing, Mo!
Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.
Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.
Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.
After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.