Friday, October 08, 2010


Girardi using Mo in the 8th showed how badly he wanted game 1

10/7, "In Going to Mariano Rivera in eighth inning, Joe Girardi shows how badly he wanted Game 1," Mike Lupica, NY Daily News

"He came running out of the bullpen, running out of all the other Octobers, one out earlier than he should have in the first game of the playoffs.

here came Rivera to show you how much and how badly Joe Girardi wanted Game 1. Here came Rivera with the Yankees up two runs to get a four-out save and make sure they got out of here a game ahead of the Twins at Target Field. You wonder how many more nights he will need out of Rivera's 40-year-old right arm to get the Yankees another World Series, how much that arm has left....

It was a new playoff season, even if it was against a familiar first-round opponent. But now

  • this ending was as old as anything, as old as Rivera, him coming through the bullpen doors this late in the game and the night. It was past midnight in New York by now.

Past midnight on the first Wednesday in October. So this wasn't just Rivera's time of the night. This was his official bio.

So much had happened in the nearly 3-1/2 hours the Yankees and Twins had played already. Francisco Liriano, the Twins' kid lefthander, had pitched the first five innings looking like he was Cliff Lee on training wheels, Cliff Lee being the guy the Yankees seemed to have tanked September to avoid in Game 1 of the playoffs. Liriano was ahead 3-0....
  • But then Liriano was behind 4-3, behind just like that because of four Yankee runs in the top of the sixth...

CC Sabathia then staggered all around the bottom of the sixth, walking three guys, finally walking home the tying run. So it was 4-4. ...

And when Teixeira hit a two-run shot in the top of the seventh, Sabathia was still set up to get the victory, even if it wasn't a work of art. Boone Logan and David Robertson got him through the bottom of the seventh after Teixeira's home run.

  • Kerry Wood, who has been generally brilliant since coming over to the Yankees from the Indians,
  • ended up putting two runners on in the bottom of the eighth.
So two on in Game 1, the Yankees up two runs. The Yankees trying to get the first of the 11 they need to win it all again.
  • Girardi had said this about Rivera in the interview room before the game:
"There is trepidation all year long about using him more than three outs. We try not to do it. . . . Last year we did it some. We'll see how he's feeling and how he's throwing the ball."
  • Four hours later, Game 1 in the books, the manager of the Yankees said,
  • "I just thought it was time to go to Mo."...

Now it was Rivera's game. He had scuffled down the stretch the way the Yankees had scuffled. Now he threw three straight balls to Denard Span before he threw a strike. But then he busted one in on Span's hands, one more hitter getting handcuffed like that in October, and he grounded to Jeter and the Yankees were out of the eighth, still ahead two runs on the Twins.

The ninth now. Nobody was worried about what Rivera, at his age, might have left for Game 2 Thursday night. Get this game. Get up 1-0 on the Twins on the road. Get the Sabathia game.

  • Orlando Hudson led off the bottom of the ninth for the Twins. He stayed in there for nine pitches against Rivera before grounding out to second.

Rivera was two outs away in Game 1....

Joe Mauer next. The Twins' star. He ripped one back at Rivera. He took it in his glove like a hockey goalie. Everybody on the Yankees knows what a great outfielder Rivera would be. Now he was a goalie, making the save on Mauer, collecting the ball, throwing Mauer out at first.

Delmon Young was the last chance for the Twins. Target Field still begging for some kind of miracle, even against Rivera, even the way the night had turned completely around on them here. Young lined one to short right. Greg Golson came in hard, somehow got his glove down, caught the ball on the dead run. It was called a hit. It wasn't. Another last chance, Jim Thome coming to plate as the tying run.

Rivera popped Thome out to A-Rod. Yankees 6, Twins 4. It was the Twins' night. Then it wasn't. New season, old story for them. The Twins have seen this movie before. It's called "Groundhog Day.""

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