Last night in Kansas City, Mariano Rivera collapsed in a heap of agony on the warning track after chasing down a fly ball during batting practice. As he was running it down, he tweaked his knee, hit the wall, then hit the ground. After being carted off the field, there was an actual game played, but I don’t think anyone was really paying attention until the late innings, wondering what would happen in the event of a pinstripe save opportunity. That never happened.
Checking the headlines this morning, it seems that Mo has a torn ACL. He is certainly out for the remainder of the season, and this could possibly be the end of his career, which is sad. I’m a Mets fan and hate the Yankees, but Rivera is an icon, gentleman, and one of the games finest players and people of all time. No one wants to see him go out like this. That being said, we still have to look at our options, much like Girardi did. Two names come to mind, and one more so than the other.
David Robertson is the first add I would make if he is still available in your league. In 11 innings this year, he has yet to give up an earned run, has a K/9 over 14, and a WHIP checking in at 0.91. Choice two, Rafael Soriano, has closing experience, notching 27 saves as a Brave in 2009, then 45 with the Rays in 2010. Despite two wins this year, his WHIP is a less than desirable 1.89, an xFIP of 4.55 and a tERA over 5.00… So to recap, Robertson is Plan A, Soriano Plan B. We won’t know for sure until Girardi tells us, or we see it, which is mildly annoying, but at least this is a better picture than the mess that is the Cubs, or the mystery that Robin Ventura dangled in front of us all spring.
- In another closing question mark, Edwin Mujica ended things for the Marlins in lieu of Heath Bell last night. Even though Mujica got the save, when Bell was pulled he was replaced initially by Steve Cishek. Cishek has been lights out so far this year, and would be the logical choice to place Bell should he lose the job. He has a 0.79 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and over 9 K/9, all numbers that look attractive in a 9th inning role.
- Joe Blanton was very un-Blanton-like last night getting a complete game and allowing only three Braves batters to reach base. Even mediocre pitchers are allowed gems sometimes, right Phil Humber?
- Ryan Dempster picked up right where he left off before hitting the DL. In 8 IP, he allowed only 3 hits, a walk and fanned 6, lowering his ERA to 0.95. The Cubs still lost after Marmol blew yet another save. For those counting, that is two this year, and twelve going back to last season. I would advise you who to pick up to replace him with in the event of him losing his job, but really this bullpen is a black hole. Are the saves really worth the blow to your ERA and WHIP that Rafael Dolis or James Russell provide? If you held a gun to my head, I would lean towards Dolis, if only because Russell is currently the only lefty in the north side pen.
- The Pedro Alvarez return to relevance tour continued yesterday with him picking up his 7th homer. His average is up to .257 now, thanks to a 7 day stretch in which he has batted .440. It may finally be safe to add him back to your roster if you have the room or a slumping player you don’t mind cutting ties with.
- Bryce Harper batted 3rd last night, and came through in the clutch with a 6th inning, RBI scoring, go-ahead double. Harper has now been in the bigs for five games, and is batting .375. More impressive? He is 19 and has only struck out twice in his 16 AB’s.
- Jason Kipnis is finally living up to the hype I gave him this spring, blasting a HR and picking up a triple, along with 4 RBI’s last night. Jordan Bastian, Indians beat writer tweeted last night “After hitting .167 (8-48) in first 12 games of season, Kipnis has hit .439 (18-41) in last 11 games. He’s 2-3 w/ HR, 3B, 4 RBIs tonight.”
- Jose Bautista was 0-for-4 last night, lowering his AVG to .172. As a Bautista owner, am I worried? A little, but he still has 4 HR’s, 12 RBI and 12 Runs. In 2010 when he hit 54 HR’s, his April was pretty similar, with a .213 AVG, 4 HR, 12 Runs and 16 RBI. There is still time.
Pitching Match Ups – I’d roll with anyone in bold type.
Billingsly @ Maholm
Peavy @ Smyly
Cueto @ Correia
Kendrick @ Strasburg
Lewis @ Gomez
Miley @ Gee
Chen @ Lester
Ross @ Price
Lohse @ Harrell
Sabathia @ Chen
Hudson @ Moscoso
Johnson @ Bass
Alvarez @ Santana
Pavano @ Vargas – I normally wouldn’t play vargas, but against the Twins, he is an option in deeper leagues.
Greinke @ Lincecum – Lince is an ace and needs to be played. The Brewers haven’t been a power house this year, and SF is pitcher friendly.