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Posted by: David
The start of the game was delayed almost an hour by heavy rain and before it began Mariano Rivera was honored for his achievment of 500 career saves by being asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He also threw the last pitch of the night as he earned his 19th save of the season and 501st of his career as the Yankees defeated the Mariners 8-5 in the opener of the series.

The Yankees jumped out to an early 3-1 lead but Joba was somewhat wild and Seattle was able to tie the score at three. A-Rod hit a mammoth home run in the seventh with one on to give the Yankees the lead back at 5-3. However, Brian Bruney was ineffective and gave the lead back as Seattle scored two runs to tie the score at five.

In the bottom of the eighth the Yankees struck for three with a double from Cabrera and a two run single from Jeter to make the score 8-5.

Mo was summoned in the ninth and made quick work of the Mariners. He got Ken Griffey, Jr. to ground to first unassisted for the first out. Mike Sweeney grounded to Jeter in the hole before Franklin Gutierrez struck out swinging to end the game.

Rivera is 1-2 on the season with 19 saves in 20 save opportunities and his season ERA now stands at 2.84.
Posted by: Patrick
The Yankees PR Twitter account revealed that Mariano Rivera will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before tonight's game.

Via StadiumInsider.
Posted by: Patrick
Peter Abraham has some cool audio from Mariano Rivera's session with the press last night after he collected his 500th save. Read on for a more personal note from Abraham about the closer. Very nice.

As an aside, Mr. Rivera was also honored as the co-American League Player of the Week. Congrats.
Posted by: Patrick
Mariano Rivera was ESPN's Sunday Conversation (nice timing, ESPN) and, in honor of his 500th save, they also premiered a feature from Tim Kurkjian called "The Great Mariano Rivera." Check them both out below for some Mo related goodness.



As a bonus, check out a recap of last night's game, with comments after the game from the man himself.
Posted by: Patrick
MLB.com's Anthony DiComo (twice) and Bryan Hoch as well as Erik Boland at Newsday have reflections from players and Joe Girardi on the career of Mariano Rivera, following his the collection of his 500th save last night. There's some good quotes in there from Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Trevor Hoffman and others.
Posted by: David
In my last post I talked about the dramatic possibility that could happen. Mariano Rivera had a chance to get his 500th save against the crosstown rival Mets in their backyard of Citi Field.

On Sunday night, in front of a national television audience on ESPN, Mo got the job done. The Yankees scored three runs in the first inning with the help of some shoddy fielding by the Mets. However, they had many more chances as the game progressed but Robinson Cano kept hitting into inning ending double plays.

Chien-Ming Wang pitched much better and earned his first win of the season after six straight losses. He got help from Phil Coke and Phil Hughes in the sixth, Hughes also completed the seventh and Brian Bruney started the eighth. Bruney walked two men but was able to get Gary Sheffield on a pop up and he struck out Fernando Martinez for the second out. Girardi then called on Mo for a four out save.

Omir Santos pinch hit and battled Mo tough fouling off three cutters before striking out looking on a back door cutter on the inside corner.

The Yankees ninth was really wild. K-Rod walked a batter and a bloop to short center fell in as the second baseman and shortstop got confused on whose ball it was. K-Rod got two outs but elected to walk Derek Jeter intentionally since Mo was on deck due to a double switch. What a disaster for the hapless Mets as K-Rod ended up walking Mo to force in an insurance run and extend the Yankee lead to 4-2. It was the first RBI of Rivera's career.

In the bottom of the ninth, Rivera got Luis Castillo to ground to second for the first out and then got Jeremy Reed looking for the second out. He only needed one out for the magic 500 and Daniel Murphy fought off a cutter and blooped it over short for a single. However, Alex Cora swung at the first inside cutter and grounded to second to end the game.

For Rivera, it's his 18th save of the season in 19 save opportunities and his ERA now stands at 2.93.
Posted by: David
Mariano Rivera is only one save away from the 500th of his career. Wouldn't it be sweet if he could accomplish this feat in front of his beloved fans at the new Yankee Stadium?

However, wouldn't it also be sweet if he was able to do it tomorrow night at Citi Field against the hated crosstown rival Mets in their backyard. The game will be the Sunday night ESPN game of the week. If the Yankees are going for a sweep of the Mets on their turf the drama would be electric. To cap off a perfect weekend right after the game the Sunday Conversation on ESPN will feature Mariano Rivera. This feature is not live but it would be, as kids put it today, S-W-E-E-T.

From a Mets fan point of view, wouldn't it be great to deny Mo his 500th in our backyard. The Yankee bats are starting to erupt and lets face it the Mets looked pitiful last night in all phases of the game.

Whatever way it plays out it does put an added perspective on the last game of interleague play and this intense rivalry.
Posted by: Patrick
Peter Abraham reports that Mariano Rivera will be featured on ESPN's Sunday Conversation, premiering during the 11 PM ET airing of Sports Center. In the interview, he talks about PEDs and Jonathan Papelbon suggestion that he would be willing to play for the Yankees. Abraham has some quotes.
Posted by: David
It looked like a laugher but Andy Pettitte couldn't hold an 8-1 lead and was gone in the fourth as his pitch count reached the century mark. The Braves battled back to 8-6 but A-Rod delivered insurance with a two run single.

David Robertson was summoned for the ninth with a five run lead and he immediately surrendered a home run to Brian McCann to put the score at 11-7. When an infield hit put two runners on a save situation was created and the Sandman entered to get the final out.

Rivera faced Diory Hernandez who worked the count to 2-2 before flying out to center to end the game. For Rivera it is his 17th save of the season and 499th of his career. His season ERA now stands at 3.07.

The Yankees will now conclude interleague play against their crosstown rival Mets at Citi Field. It would be great if Mo could get number 500 at home in front of his endearing fans, but to get it vs. the Mets in their backyard would be sweet, too.
Posted by: Patrick
Bryan Hoch's report on Mariano Rivera's at-bat in last night's game has a video of his line out and reaction from the dugout, which includes laughter from Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Ramiro Pena and others. Great clip.

Tyler Kepner says that Mo used Cody Ransom's bat, Alfredo Aceves' helmet and the batting gloves of Melky Cabrera.
Posted by: David
With how poorly the Yankees have been playing lately Mo has not had any opportunities for saves. It looked like the same thing was going to happen on Wednesday night in Atlanta. The Yankees were shut out through five but in the sixth Francisco Cervelli hit his first major league home run and A-Rod came through with a two run single to give the Yankees the lead.

Nick Swisher added some insurance with a home run but Joba tired and the bullpen wasn't exactly sharp. The Braves pulled two within 4-3 and Mo was summoned in the eighth with two out.

He faced Kelly Johnson and struck him out swinging with a devastating cutter. The Yankees added more insurance in the top of the ninth due to some sloppy Braves fielding and led at 8-4 heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Mo was simply awesome! He struck out Diaz and Mclouth swinging and got Escobar looking to end the game. The save was Rivera's 16th of the season and 498th of his career. His ERA for the 2009 season now stands at 3.10.
Posted by: Patrick
Tyler Kepner has a great post featuring various fun facts from Mariano Rivera's career, as the closer nears his 500th save. For example, Mo has pitched 1/3 of an inning in 19, 2/3 in 12, 1 in 358, 1 and 1/3 in 63, 1 and 2/3 in 34, 2 in 10 and 2 and 1/3 in 1. Check out the post for more.
Posted by: David
CC Sabathia was cruising at 2-0 against the hapless Nats even though the Yankees were not tearing the cover off the ball. Anderson Hernandez then struck for a three run home run to put Washington ahead until the Yankees came back with two in the seventh and one in the eighth to pull ahead at 5-3.

In the ninth, Mo got Elijah Dukes to ground to second then caught Adam Dunn looking for the second out and ended the game by inducing Austin Kearns to ground to short.

For 2009, its Rivera's 15th save in 16 save opportunities and ERA now stands at 3.25.
Posted by: Patrick
charitybuzz is auctioning a meet and greet with Mariano Rivera along with two tickets to a Yankees home game and a bullpen pitching rubber. The bidding ends on June 17 and the current bid is $1,600.00 Proceeds of the auction will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Posted by: David
It looked as though bringing Mo into a tie game would backfire again as he gave up the lead to the Mets in a seesaw battle. After Hideki Matsui gave the Yankees the lead with a three run home run the Yankees gave it right back as the Mets tied the score at seven.

Phil Coke was able to get two outs in the eighth and had no one on base but with Beltran and Wright coming up Girardi felt that he needed to summon Mo. Rivera pitched carefully to Beltran and walked him. Mo threw a flat cutter to Wright on a 2-2 pitch and Wright hit it up the right center field gap to score Beltran. Mo got Ryan Church swinging to end the inning.

The Yankees did not score in the bottom of the eighth and Rivera remained in the game for the top of the ninth. Sheffield was caught looking, Murphy grounded to short and Santos flew out to right to end the inning.

K-Rod was summoned by the Mets in the bottom of the ninth and the Yankees and Mo needed a miracle and got one. Brett Gardner was retired to start the inning. Derek Jeter singled up the middle and stole second with Damon striking out. Teixeira was pitched around and eventually intentionally walked to put runners on first and second. It was left up to A-Rod vs K-Rod. It looked like the Yankees were doomed when A-Rod popped up to second. Luis Castillo fought the wind a little bit and was under the ball but it hit the heel of his glove and dropped to the ground. Castillo was dazed for a second and when he recovered the ball on his knees he threw it to second. Jeter and Teixeira raced around the bases and scored to win it for the Yankees 9-8.

Rivera is now 1-2 on the season with 14 saves in 15 save opportunities. His ERA now stands at 3.38.
Posted by: Patrick
ESPN.com's Howard Bryant has a feature on Mariano Rivera, focusing mainly on his mortality, eventual decline or retirement and when it could happen. He spoke to Mo for the piece, which is worth a read.

One thing that jumps out at me is that it's, perhaps, a bit of a stretch to place David Ortiz's decline and the potential decline of Mo in the same sentence. After all, Ortiz was a great player at his position for maybe five seasons. Rivera has been so at his for at least 12. But, otherwise, there are some interesting nuggets in there.

Thanks Jack for the tip.
Posted by: Patrick
In May, the Yankees held their first clubhouse kangaroo since 1995 with Mariano Rivera as the judge.

In honor of Mo's new found role, Marilyn Milian, the judge on TV's People's Court, paid a visit to the Yankees today, presenting Mo with a judge's robe and gavel. MLB.com's Jared Diamond has the story and a picture.
Posted by: David
Mariano Rivera continued the bounce back with another impressive effort against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees scored all their runs from the home run. Teixeira, Damon and Jeter had solo shots and Nick Swisher added a two run shot for the Yankees five runs.

The Yankees had an early 3-0 lead but the Rays scratched back vs. Andy Pettitte due to an error from A-Rod and a hanging cutter to Gabe Kapler for a two run shot.

Damon got the Yankees back on top and Jeter added the insurance run and gave way to Mo. Prior to Mo entering the 7th and 8th innings were pitched by Phil Hughes and Phil Coke as they went through the heart of the Rays order.

Mo entered in the ninth and got Kapler to ground to third and pinch hitter Matt Joyce to fly out to center. B.J. Upton got Mo on Saturday but this time Mo blew him away with a high fast ball to end the game.

For Rivera it is his 14th save of the season in 15 save opportunities. It is also the 496th of his career leaving him only four short of the magic 500 number. His season ERA now stands at 3.20.
Posted by: Patrick
Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports has an interesting article on Mo's weekend.

For several hours before Rivera took the ball Saturday afternoon in that tie game, he’d suffered with a stomach ailment that brought aches and repeated vomiting, according to one Yankee. Rivera had rolled off the trainer’s table, where he’d hoped to sleep it off, and into the bullpen in the eighth inning, when he began to warm up. ...

“He was so upset afterward,” the teammate said.

And yet, Rivera did not mention it after the game, and he did not reveal it late Sunday afternoon, when it would have played less like an excuse than, in victory, the simple retelling of a trying 30 hours. He did not hang those hittable fastballs or that loss on his illness. He did not blame manager Joe Girardi for asking him to pitch in a tie game when a healthier body might have – and probably should have – done.

See the full write up for more.

Thanks Jack for the tip.
Posted by: Patrick
Matt Gagne of the Daily News talked with Evan Longoria of the Devil Rays about Mariano Rivera, after the closer issued him an intentional walk on Saturday.

"Among the closers in the game, if I had to choose one guy, I would still want him running out there in the ninth inning," Longoria said. "If I was the manager, I would send him out there every day.

"I wasn't here when he was at the height, at the peak of his game, when every pitch he threw was 95-96 mph and cutting. The thing is, he's dropped a couple miles off his fastball, but he still puts it where he wants it. ... I don't really see his ability to get guys out in the ninth inning decreasing that much at all."

There is more in the full story.
Posted by: Patrick
After Saturday's loss, Mariano Rivera wasn't exactly thrilled about being asked to intentionally walk Evan Longoria.

"That's the manager's decision," he said. "If it was me, I would have pitched to him. That's what I do. I'm not there to intentionally walk guys. I think I have good stuff to get hitters out. Again, that's the manager's decision."

There were some reports that indicated Mo was second guessing the manager and that's fair. A day later, Joe Girardi talked to MLB.com's Bryan Hoch about the game situation and Rivera's comments. He said that there were no issues between him and Mo.

"No, because I know what he told me out there," Girardi said. "He told me that I'm the boss, and it was my decision. I don't ever expect any of my pitchers to feel they can't get somebody out, because if they feel that, we've got a bigger problem. ... I think people are probably making too much of this. He's a competitor. He's Mariano Rivera. He's not going to back down from anybody. Those are the decisions that I'm paid to make."

Mariano Rivera also had conciliatory remarks for his manager. "I want to pitch to everybody," Rivera told Hoch. "That's why I'm not the manager."

"I would never second-guess my manager," Rivera said to Mark Hale of the post. "I had a chance to get Upton and I didn't."
Posted by: David
Mariano Rivera figuratively fell off the horse yesterday but jumped right back on Sunday afternoon and got the job done. The Yankees had rallied for three runs in the eighth to take the lead at 4-3 and hand over the reigns to the Sandman.

Rivera didn't disappoint this time! He got Matt Joyce to ground to first for the first out. He then struck out Gabe Gross on a devastating cutter and then would have to face the leader in RBI pinch hitter Evan Longoria. Mo walked him intentionally yesterday but today he was the last hope. Longoria has a strained hamstring and can only pinch hit late in games. Mo got him to ground weakly to second to end the game.

For Rivera it is his 13th save of the season in 14 save opportunities and the 495th of his career. His season ERA now stands at 3.33. The Yankees also moved back into first place as the Red Sox lost to the Rangers 6-3.
Posted by: David
Mark Teixeira led the comeback with a mammoth home run into the suite level in right to pull the Yankees to within a run. They scratched to tie the game and Mo entered in the ninth.

Frankly, Mo wasn't Mo. Ben Zobrist led off and took an outside cutter up the gap in left center for a lead off triple. Joe Dillon followed with a single up the middle and the Rays had the lead at 6-5. Navarro grounded out to Tex at first but Dillon moved to second on the play.

Matt Joyce pinch hit and launched a deep fly to right which Swisher caught with a leaping catch for the second out. The Rays sent up Evan Longoria to pinch hit and the Yankees elected to walk him intentionally. B.J. Upton then lined a single up the middle to make it 7-5. For the second time this season Mo was taken out of a game vs. Tampa Bay.

Phil Coke entered and the Yankees imploded further. Both runners that were left on by Rivera scored with the last one on an error from A-Rod at third. Mo gave up four runs in two thirds of an inning with three of the runs earned.

The Yankees fought back valiantly against Dan Wheeler in the bottom of the inning. Jeter singled over second and Damon lined a double over the head of Upton in center to put runners on second and third with no outs. Teixeira doubled up the gap in right center and both runs scored. The score was 9-7 with the tying run at the plate and no outs. Think back to the A-Rod error. If he doesn't make that error the tying run is at second. A-Rod grounded out for the first out and former Yankee Randy Choate came in to close the door.

All in all, it was a bad loss for Mo and the Yankees. His record on the season in now 0-2 with 12 saves and his ERA jumped to 3.47. With the loss and the Red Sox win the Yankees find themselves a half game out of first place in the AL East.
Posted by: Patrick
Steiner Sports is offering a limited edition (of 42) Mariano Rivera pop art piece by Charles Fazzino. It is available for purchase on their website for $1,399.99 and is signed by both the artist and Mariano Rivera. You'll also receive a Mo jersey with the Yankee Stadium Final Season patch and the 2008 All-Star Game patch.

Thanks to Mr. Diaz for the tip.
Posted by: David
Melky Cabrera hit a two run home run in the bottom of the eighth to break a tie game and give the Yankees a 8-6 lead and hand it over to the Sandman. Rivera was not lights out but got the job done nontheless.

Rivera faced the top of the order and got Ian Kinsler swinging for the first out. Tough hitting Michael Young was next and Mo got to a full count before Young lined a double to right as Melky's dive was unsuccessful. Hank Blalock singled up the middle with Young taking third on the play. With the tying runs on Nelson Cruz stepped up to the plate and he had already hit a home run in this game and launched a mammoth home run last night. Mo got him swinging and then got Murphy to pop up to A-Rod to end the game.

For Rivera ,it's his 12th save in 13 save opportunities. He is now only six saves short of the magic 500 number. His record on the season remains at 0-1 and his ERA is lowered to 2.38.
Posted by: David
Joba Chamberlain pitched the longest outing of his career as he completed eight strong innings and then gave way to Mo. In the finale of a four game series the game was close until the seventh when the Yankees batted around and put up a four spot to put them ahead to stay.

Joba gave up a run late to make the score 5-2 but was very dominant all night long. His fast ball was clocked all night in the mid to upper 90's and he made a huge double play to get him self out of a jam. With runners on first and second and no outs, Kelly Shoppach tried to bunt but popped the ball up with Joba making a full body dive catch and then throwing to second for the double play.

In the ninth Rivera entered and faced Ben Francisco to start the inning. Francisco lined the ball back to the box and Mo got a glove on it and then scrambled to pick the ball up and throw to first for the first out of the ninth. Victor Martinez flied to left and then Shin-Soo Choo battled and bounced a ball high over the mound which Mo back peddled and then grabbed and threw to first to end the game.

Rivera now has 11 saves on the season and 493 for his career. His season ERA now stands at 2.49.