Joel Sherman suggests that maybe he phoned it in last night -
After his first meltdown as a Yankee, which led to a 5-4 Minnesota triumph in 10 innings last night, [Rafael] Soriano vanished. He never came to his locker. A flustered Yankees media relations official conceded Soriano probably dressed quickly and departed, leaving others to explain his ineffectiveness.
This would not be quite as big a deal if Soriano’s reputation were closer to pristine. But in previous stops in Atlanta and Tampa Bay, he was known for being prickly, reclusive, determined not to be used in any way, but how he thought fit. Last year he expected, for example, to be deployed only for a full inning in save situations.
There were members of the Rays who felt, for example, that Soriano did not invest fully when asked to pitch the ninth inning of a 3-1 deficit of Game 3 of last year’s Division Series against the Rangers. That was an elimination game.
Thus, when his attention and fastball seem off, there is natural wonder if Soriano does not think 4-0 in the eighth inning is worth his full attention. That would have been among the questions asked had he handled last night with professionalism. Instead, he fled, leaving uncertainty if this was a singular poor effort for a talented pitcher or a bad omen for a bad actor.
“I think he was there mentally,” said Russell Martin, among those answering questions in Soriano’s absence. “He was throwing the ball with conviction, I think.”
What do you think?