Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Prior to last night's Yankees - Mets game at Citi Field, the Mets gave Yankees closer Mariano Rivera part of an FDNY firehose for being the "ultimate fireman". He also had the honor of throwing out the game's first pitch to former Mets closer John Franco. Hours later, Rivera returned the gift by blowing his first save opportunity of the season in a 2-1 Mets win. I believe he was contaminated by the Mets.
The fact that Mo blew a save and the Yankees lost was no amazing feat. It's happened before and will happen again. What was truly amazing was the fact that it was the first time in his Major League career that the game's greatest closer blew a save or lost a game without having retired a single batter. THAT is remarkable.
The game was excellent pitcher's duel between Yankees veteran Hiroki Kuroda and Mets phenom Matt Harvey. Lyle Overbay's RBI single was the game's lone run through eight innings and happened in part because Marlon Byrd played Brett Gardner's single like Pele, allowing Gardner to advance into scoring position.
The Yankees couldn't get an insurance run though - Ichiro Suzuki got picked off first base in the 9th and was thrown out as he tried to advanced to second - and it came down to Rivera against the Mets trio of Daniel Murphy, David Wright, and Lucas Duda. Wright had the game winning home run in Monday's opener of the four game set.
Murphy, who was robbed by Gardner of a home run on Monday and an extra base hit in Tuesday's contest, reached out on and poked a Rivera cutter to left for a ground rule double. Wright followed with a single to center that plated Murphy ahead of Gardner's throw. To compound matters, Rivera got caught watching the play and forgot to back up home plate. Sure enough the ball skittered through catcher Chris Stewart to allow Wright to grab the extra base.
Duda's single to right followed and the Mets had done the unthinkable, beaten the game's greatest closer without having recorded an out.
Though in my opinion it was blown out of proportion by the media, Jeff Wilpon's words during the pre-game presentation to Rivera, annoyed a lot of Mets fans and baffled the media. Basically Wilpon said that it would be the last time Rivera would face the Mets at Citi Field. Mo responded, "You never know." But instead of being let off the hook, Wilpon added something to the effect of "It would take some big turnaround." I guess Mariano felt bad for him last night.
The series moves to Yankee Stadium Wednesday and Thursday for a pair of games.
Brian Cashman was brutally honest Tuesday when ESPN radio's Don LaGreca asked him if there was room on the team for Overbay with Mark Teixeira about set to return. Cashman said he wasn't really sure, given the fact that Overbay can only play one position. (All of Overbay's play in the field - 1,270 games - has been at first base.)