“It’s just a man who has retired talking to another man who’s thinking about retiring, and just telling him my feelings on it. It’s not me lobbying him to come back, because as I've said along, I would never want a player to come back if he didn't want to come back. I’ll just talk to him, because I want to make sure that his heart is right when he decides it’s time.”
Those were some of Joe's very candid words to the media after last night's game about his feelings on Mariano Rivera's retirement. Joe, you sly devil. I see what you're doing there. Of course you aren't lobbying Mo to come back. Why would you want to lobby the greatest relief pitcher of all time, greatest athlete at doing 1 thing in the history of organized sports, the most beloved Yankee since Mickey Mantle, and arguably the all-around best teammate and person in sports to come back for another year when he's clearly still got it? Nobody would want that.
In all seriousness, I like that Joe was that open and honest about the situation with Mo last night. He said what he felt and even though he didn't come out and admit it, Joe obviously doesn't want Mo to retire and wants Mo around next year. It's a feeling that everybody else in that clubhouse surely shares and a feeling that we all as Yankee fans share, and good on Joe for expressing it.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
(Courtesy of Getty Images)
(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)
Guess those 1.1 scoreless innings he tossed on Monday wasn't enough to save his job, huh? Joe announced last night that Phil Hughes will be removed from the starting rotation and moved to the bullpen for the rest of the season and David Huff will be taking Hughes' place in the rotation this Saturday against Boston. This comes on the heels of Huff's latest solid long relief appearance, also on Monday, and ends weeks of growing speculation about how much longer Joe would stick with Hughes. Time wasn't on his side after the Yanks failed to find any good offers for him at the deadline, and after another month of mostly poor starts Joe finally decided he had seen enough.
(Courtesy of the AP)
The beauty of Monday's rainout/blowout was that it allowed Joe to save the bulk of his bullpen horses. The way Hiroki Kuroda has been pitching lately, Joe needed all his best reinforcements at the ready and he had to be equally ready with a quick hook if Hirok didn't have it. The Yankees are at the point where they need to be doing everything possible to win every game, even with them being much closer to the second Wild Card spot than they were a few weeks ago. They had a tough battle against Chris Sale on their hands and needed a good start from Kuroda or a big time bullpen performance to increase the odds of winning. A little late timely hitting didn't hurt either.
- Kuroda got bit by some textbook Eduardo Nunez bad defense in the top of the 1st, leading to an unearned run for the White Sox. Still, his stuff didn't look all that good and his command wasn't sharp.
- The Yanks tied the game back up in the bottom of the 2nd in a really unorthodox way. Vernon Wells singled and moved to second on an error, then third on another error. With Chris Stewart batting and 2 outs, Wells went for the steal of home and got it on a delayed double steal attempt, completely catching Sale and rest of the White Sox off guard.
- Hirok seemed to right the ship by retiring the 3rd and 4th innings in order. But he got into trouble when he put the first 2 runners on in the 5th and an Alexei Ramirez triple brought them home to give Chicago the 3-1 lead.
- Joe should have taken what he could get by getting Kuroda through the 6th and been happy, but he let him start the 7th and Kuroda left a sinker up that turned into a solo home run to extend the deficit. Bad decision in hindsight.
- After stranding a Nunez leadoff double in the 5th and doing a whole lot of nothing against Sale, the lineup finally broke through in the bottom of the 8th. A couple of 1-out hits chased Sale from the game and Alfonso Soriano came through with a 2-run single against Nate Jones to pull New York back within 1.
- As questionable as Joe's decision was with Hirok, his decisions with the hitters in the bottom of the 8th made up for it. He took his chances with Curtis Granderson against a lefty 2 batters later and it worked, and he let Nunez face a righty with runners in scoring position and it worked. A little comeback turned into a 5-run go-ahead inning and a chance for Mo to do what he does.