Best closer of all time may go for three.
If there is a recurring theme in this series, it’s the inability for either team to put it away. Up and down each of these teams, there have been holes in this series. It’s fair to say that whoever manages to plug those holes up, will win the series.
It’s also fair to say that the Yankees have the clear advantage regardless of anything else. There at home where they had more success than any team in baseball, and, they have control over the only sure thing left in this series: Mariano Rivera.
So, we are left with yet another issue. How do you use the one sure thing left in the series to win the series. With a lead in the latter part of the game, Rivera is a sure go.
Whether that situation will present itself is yet to be seen. But, assuming it does, I think it is fair to say that the Yankees will, under no circumstances, watch a late inning lead get blown with Rivera sitting out in the bullpen.
In the seventh inning tonight, the stage will be set. With a two or one Yankee lead, the decision will begin to mount upon Girardi’s shoulders. Do you give the ball to the greatest reliever of all time and say, “bring us home”? Or do you play the safe route, and ensure yourself that you will have him in game 7?
The last time Rivera pitched more than two innings in a postseason game was just a few weeks ago. Rivera pitched 2.1 innings against the Angels and gave up no runs and one hit in game 2 of the ALCS. He has pitched three innings in a postseason game twice, the last coming in 2003 against the Red Sox, another scoreless performance.
So, you can ensure the champagne, or you can ensure that you will have Rivera for as long as you want in a potential game 7.
But, the decision won’t be made by us. Here is a recent update from Yankee reporter @BryanHoch via Twitter.com: “Joe Girardi believes the Yankees have Mariano Rivera for at least two innings tonight — “Maybe a litter more,” he said.
Poll of the Day:
Should the Yankees use Rivera for more than 2 innings?(survey software)