Who is Hot & Cold This Week? The Yankees Edition


Mariano Rivera (Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

This did not start off being a Yankees post. I mean after all, we cover all 30 teams here at Call to the Pen.

But based on what has been going on in the Bronx, I felt that it could not be ignored. For essentially the entire season, Alex Rodriguez has commanded the majority of the focus and coverage on the Yankees. Off the field that is obviously warranted, but after a while it is tough to read. Plus, baseball is played on the field and that is what should be talked about.

The Yankees started the season off strong, but have steadily regressed. That regression should not have come as a surprise once you looked at the lineup that Joe Girardi was forced to put out each day on the field. Missing Rodriguez was only the tip of the iceberg for the Yankees.

However, the one constant that Girardi had at his disposal was the immortal Mariano Rivera in his bullpen. In his swan song, the future Hall of Famer has a 2.44 ERA with 35 saves to go with five blown saves. Rivera has struck out 41 batters in 44.1 innings so far this season. There is nothing bad to say about his season thus far.

But over the past week, Rivera has been cold.

Rivera has blown the save in each of his last three outings and his ERA in his last 10 games is 4.09. And Monday night, Girardi bypassed Rivera to walk the tightrope with Boone Logan and David Roberston to close the game. Also prior to the game, Rivera worked with pitching coach Larry Rothchild just to get back on the right track. Now I do believe that this is temporary and Enter Sandman will be blasting from the speakers the next time the Yankees have a ninth inning lead, but this is not something we have grown accustomed to seeing from Rivera.

Staying with the Yankees, Alfonso Soriano has played a very large role in the last two Yankee wins. The Yankees are teetering on the edge of falling out of the playoff race that they really were not in too firmly. Now after two big wins, New York is still 5.5 games out of the Wild Card, but they have some positive momentum. That is what consecutive wins by the scores of 14-7 and 11-3 will do.

In his last ten games, Soriano is only hitting .250, but his performance in his last two games as made up for it. The outfielder is proving that there is something left in his tank.

Tuesday night Soriano hit two home runs and drove in six runs for the first time ever in his career. For a follow up, Soriano only added two more home runs (including a grand slam) to go with seven RBI’s. If Soriano can keep this performance up, he could potentially be the most valuable player for the Yankees down the stretch. As it is, his stats in the last two games are a pretty good week for most players.