It's no secret that Mariano Rivera has not been his regular self lately.
Just imagine if Mariano Rivera had converted those appearances to actual saves.
The New York Yankees would have taken the series against the Boston Red Sox and would have won the first game of the series against the Angels. New York would have been 0.5 games ahead of the Red Sox for first place in the AL East.
Right now, though, the Yankees are 2.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East and are just six games ahead of the Angels in the AL Wild Card.
It is important that the Yankees win the series now, in order to quell the hopes of Mike Scioscia and his squad.
What to do with Mariano Rivera? Should Joe Girardi keep throwing him out their for saves? Should Girardi show his absolute faith in the all-time greatest closer?
I say that the answers to these questions would be a partial 'yes' in about a week from now. What I mean is that Joe Girardi needs to give Rivera some rest for about the rest of the week.
Girardi needs to evaluate who is in the bullpen. There are two guys who are perfect for the job of closing: David Robertson and Rafael Soriano.
I am not saying, by any means, that Mariano be thwarted by one or even both of these guys. What I am saying is that there is evidently something wrong with Rivera, and Joe Girardi needs to allow Robertson and Soriano to take a few of the closing opportunities.
David Robertson has the numbers to back up a closing appearance. He has had a 1.38 ERA this season with 2.73 strikeouts/nine. Robertson has the numbers to close a game this week.
Rafael Soriano has been a closer before he came to the New York Yankees.
Last year, as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, Soriano had a 1.73 ERA and garnered 45 saves, which led the league. I say give Sori a chance to close a few games as well because he obviously has the pedigree to do so. He has even improved of late as a great new addition to the "Bridge to Mariano." The bridge works fine; it's just the destination that is a bit nebulous at this point.
Mariano might be fatigued right now. The last thing the Yankees need to do is continue throwing him out there to get saves. It's obvious that he cannot do that right now.
Instead, Girardi needs to let Robertson and Soriano get one or two of the next save opportunities each. Once both of them have about three or four saves altogether at the end of the week, I would throw Rivera back into the mix.
This would best benefit the team because the Yankees need Rivera to perform well in October. This also would not be the first time the Yankees gave Rivera a sizeable rest. Look to 2009, when Phil Hughes closed a few games for Mo. The Yankees could do the same here, in order to ensure performance in the postseason.
The New York Yankees always strive to win the World Series. Allowing Mariano Rivera to regain his 100 percent form would be the best way to do this.