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No One Like Mo

By Amanda Massa
2/3/10
In light of all the moves made (or not: ahem, Johnny Damon) during the off-season thus far, the Yankee Universe is buzzing. The team will look quite familiar in 2010, with a few minor upgrades. So let's take a look at one area that has been rather neglected by the media, bloggers, and fans: the bullpen.

Both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain have proven themselves better relievers than starters, but one will have to pitch out of the number five spot in the starting rotation come 2010. While Damaso Marte returns with a phenomenal postseason performance under his belt with a 0.00 ERA and only 2 hits allowed in 4 IP, he was much less reliable during the regular season going 1-3 with an inexcusable 9.45 ERA. Chad Gaudin is a decent journeyman pitcher, someone who’s capable of holding his own. It’s hard to ignore, however, that his numbers last season left a bit to be desired, as he went 6-10 with a 4.64 ERA with the Padres and the Yankees. Guys like Sergio Mitre, Jonathan Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez, and Mark Melancon will most likely start the year in the minors. Those who do not might be a little hard to trust due to lack of experience or shaky past performances. Boone Logan is sub-par at best (In his career he has a 5.78 ERA and a .302 BAA). Alfredo Aceves will surely be a solid long man, but it’s hard to forget his cracking under pressure in the League Championship Series with the walk-off double he surrendered to Jeff Mathis in the bottom of the 11
th at Angel Stadium. Dave Robertson is also promising, but has yet to truly establish himself as a consistent big league reliever.

With the exception of Rivera, it’s hard to label a single Yankee relief pitcher as “great.” The fact of the matter is it’s unfair to even compare any run of the mill pitcher to someone with the accolades of Rivera. It’s almost as if he were sent to New York by the baseball gods, an entity with virtually no flaws in his game. He is respected by every big league hitter as a guy who has a predictable approach and yet is still unhittable because of his quick and lively cutter. He is unflappable and never folds under pressure. He has a career ERA of 2.25, a .211 BAA and is one of the two closers in MLB history to record 500 saves (he now has 526). In 2009, Rivera was in true Mo form, going 3-3 with a 1.76 ERA, 44 SV, 12 BB, and .197 BAA. And, not surprisingly, he perpetuated his post-season dominance with an immaculate .56 ERA, 5 SV, 5 BB, and .175 BAA. There is no question that Mo will be on point in 2010. The question that stands is can the other relief pitchers be counted to perform adequately?

1 comment:

  1. I am a huge Rivera fan...honestly he is a god to me, but you can not say he never folds when it matters. If he didn't fold when it mattered the Yankees would have 2 or 3 more rings. Sandy Alomar in 1997, The F***ing Red Sox in 2004, and on the biggest stage against the D-Backs in 2001. He is the best of all time, but lets not go crazy making him out to be Superman.

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