• Did Girardi Diss Rivera Yesterday?

    Posted by on June 7th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    One of the hot topics today in Yankeeland is General Joe’s call, yesterday, to have Mo Rivera give Evan Longoria an intentional pass – and whether or not Girardi was dissing Rivera with that call. Via Larry Brooks of the Post –

    The shocker yesterday in The Bronx wasn’t so much watching Mariano Rivera walk off the mound with two outs in the ninth after surrendering two of the four runs eventually charged against him in a 9-7 defeat to the Rays.

    Rather, it was seeing Joe Girardi walk out to the mound earlier in the inning to instruct his closer to intentionally walk hobbling pinch-hitter Evan Longoria in order to get to B.J. Upton with two outs, a man on third and a run in to give Tampa Bay the lead in what had been a 5-5 game after eight.

    “He’s pitched Upton tougher than he’s pitched Longoria during the course of his career,” Girardi said. “That’s why I made the move.”

    That walk to the mound and the instruction to intentionally walk Longoria sure seemed like a vote of no confidence from the manager, even to Rivera, who came as close to saying that as possible without actually using the words.

    “If it were me, I would have pitched to [Longoria], but I’m not the manager,” said Rivera, who yielded an RBI single to Upton that prompted Girardi to pull him. “[Why?] Because that’s what I do; I don’t go out there to intentionally walk guys.

    “I think I have good stuff to get people out, but it’s not my decision.”

    Including yesterday’s game, to date, in his career, Mariano Rivera has issued 31 intentional walks. Here’s the list:

    Date	  Opp	Batter		  Score	Inn
    04/13/96  TEX	Mickey Tettleton  down	T 6
    05/25/96  @SEA	Paul Sorrento	  ahead	B 8
    06/04/96  TOR	John Olerud	  ahead	T 7
    06/01/97  @BOS	Darren Bragg	  tied	B 9
    06/01/97  @BOS	Mo Vaughn	  tied	B 9
    06/15/97  @FLA	Gary Sheffield	  ahead	B 9
    08/23/97  @SEA	Edgar Martinez	  tied	B 9
    08/23/97  @SEA	Paul Sorrento	  tied	B 9
    08/23/97  @SEA	Ken Griffey	  tied	B10
    08/18/98  @KCR	Larry Sutton	  ahead	B 9
    04/15/99  BAL	Albert Belle	  down	T 9
    04/15/99  BAL	B.J. Surhoff	  down	T 9
    07/10/99  @NYM	Mike Piazza	  ahead	B 9
    08/23/00  TEX	Rafael Palmeiro	  tied	T 9
    08/23/00  TEX	Ricky Ledee	  tied	T 9
    09/03/00  MIN	Jacque Jones	  tied	T10
    07/14/01  @FLA	Andy Fox	  tied	B 8
    08/30/01  TOR	Carlos Delgado	  tied	T 9
    05/04/02  SEA	Ichiro Suzuki	  tied	T 9
    07/14/02  @CLE	Jim Thome	  ahead	B 9
    08/06/03  TEX	Alex Rodriguez	  down	T 9
    04/07/04  @TB	Geoff Blum	  ahead	B 9
    05/15/04  SEA	Edgar Martinez	  tied	T11
    07/01/04  BOS	Jason Varitek	  tied	T11
    04/26/06  TB	Jonny Gomes	  down	T10
    05/19/06  @NYM	Carlos Delgado	  tied	B 9
    08/20/06  @BOS	Manny Ramirez	  tied	B 9
    08/20/06  @BOS	Mike Lowell	  tied	B 9
    08/24/07  @DET	Ivan Rodriguez	  tied	B10
    08/24/07  @DET	Ryan Raburn	  tied	B10
    06/06/09  TB	Evan Longoria	  down	B 9


    Looking at this list, the games of August 18, 1998 and April 7, 2004 jump out at me.

    On August 18, 1998, the Yankees had a 91-30 record and were in first place by 20 games. Yet, that day, in a game where they were ahead, in the 9th inning, Joe Torre had Mariano Rivera walk the “immortal” Larry Sutton intentionally. Was that a diss to Rivera? I mean…really…should the Yankees have been afraid of Sutton wrecking a game in that spot by swinging the bat?

    On April 7, 2004, the Yankees season was just four games old – including that game. Yet, that day, in a game where they were ahead, in the 9th inning, Joe Torre had Mariano Rivera walk the “always dangerous” Geoff Blum intentionally. Was that a diss to Rivera? I mean…really…should the Yankees have played the Rays, who were coming off a 63-99 season and who would finish with 91 losses in 2004, like it was the World Series – just four games into the season – fearful that Blum would cost them the contest by swinging the bat?

    If we’re not going to get our panties in a bunch over Joe Torre making Mo Rivera issue intentional walks to batters like Larry Sutton and Geoff Blum when there was little on the line and Rivera was in his prime, then why should we be fussing over Joe Girardi asking Mariano to issue a pass to an All-Star like Evan Longoria, in a game that the Yankees were already losing, given the way the Yankees play the Rays now, and that Mo is towards the end of his career? Seems like an excuse to try and create some heat between Girardi and Rivera…when there’s really no need.

    Comments on Did Girardi Diss Rivera Yesterday?

    1. redbug
      June 7th, 2009 | 9:16 am

      I agree, Steve. Plus, I don’t think Mo was saying Girardi had no confidence. I’d hope Mo would say what he said. He’s not afraid to pitch anyone. When he stops saying that, then we know we’re in trouble.

    2. June 7th, 2009 | 11:34 am

      […] Joe Torre obviously had no faith in Mariano, being that he asked him to issue intentional passes on 31 occasions. Seriously now, the manager made a strategic decision that made plenty of sense and was in no way […]

    3. Tresh Fan
      June 7th, 2009 | 11:37 am

      Steve, I did some checking on the two games you mentioned (Sutton and Blum) and they were remarkably similar.

      In the first game Sutton came to bat with the score 2-1 Yankees and runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. But a Rivera pitch got by Posada for a passed ball, putting the tying run on third and winning run on second. Rivera was then ordered to walk Sutton intentionally to set up a force at home (and every other base as well). The ploy backfired as the next batter hit a sac fly to tie the game, but the Yankees eventually won in “bonus cantos.”

      In the second game Eduoardo Perez had just doubled to make the score 3-2 Yankees with runners on second and third and one out. Rivera was ordered to walk Blum intentionally to (once again) set up a force at home and everywhere else. This time it worked. The next batter bounced into a DP to end the game.

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