Via Jayson Stark -
The Phillies didn’t beat Mariano Rivera in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night. Heck, they didn’t even score on him.
But they did make Rivera sweat through 39 pitches — the most he’d thrown in any outing, regular season or postseason, since May 6, 2005 (336 outings ago) and the most he’d tossed in a postseason game since his infamous blown save in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series.
And afterward, Jimmy Rollins said something — almost in passing — that we should all keep in mind the next time we hear the dulcet strains of “Enter Sandman” and the Great Mariano bursts through the bullpen gates:
“I think we saw some things,” Rollins said.
Now if there’s a secret to hitting Mariano Rivera, it’s definitely news to the rest of the population. But here’s the full context of exactly what Rollins said:
Asked if it was any kind of benefit to have seen Rivera for two full innings, in which he faced everyone in the Phillies’ lineup except Pedro Feliz, Rollins replied: “We felt pretty good up there, and that’s always the question mark: What is he going to look like? And I think we saw some things.”
So what kind of things? That’s the question.
“Now you have a game plan,” said Rollins, who worked an 11-pitch walk against Rivera in the eighth. “We didn’t really see Mariano during the season. Spring training, he comes in [when] I’m out of the game. So it’s a mystery.
“Like we know what he’s going to do. It’s no surprise. But when you see him, you figure out how much his ball is moving. Once you find your approach, you’ve got to be stubborn with it, because he’s going to be stubborn with what he’s going to do to you.”
That 8th inning in Game Two was concerning. Given the sorry state of the Yankees “Bridge to Mo,” if Mariano is not going to be über-effective against the Phils, the Yankees could be looking at some big problems late in these Series games.