"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

“C” is for Closers

Watching Bobby Jenks and Brad Lidge both get smacked around last night simply made me appreciate what we Yankee fans have in Mariano Rivera even more than I already do. Sure, Mo’s got two famous blown saves to his credit (’97 and ’01), but hey, you wouldn’t be human as a reliever if you didn’t have a few big losses in there, right? And in Rivera’s case those two blips hardly overwhelm his great success.

I first-guessed Chicago’s choice of bringing Jenks in the game in the first place. With a rested bullpen, it just didn’t seem necessary. Just as they broke for commercial, Fox introduced Jenks like they were making the next rock star closer: cool name, throws gas. But Jenks’ location was awful and he allowed two runs to score tying the game at six. The night before he sent Jeff Bagwell down swining at hard stuff up in the zone. Last night, with the count 2-2, he throws a fastball down, and Bagwell was able to reach out and poke a single to center. Jenks made virtually the same pitch, low and away to Jose Vizcaino, who slapped the game-tying single into left (that hit must have brought back some fond memories for Yankee fans, as it was the same kind of single that won Game 1 of the Subway Serious back in 2000). King Kong one night, mediocre in two-thirds of an inning the next night.

Then Lidge served up a belt-high heater to Scott Podsednick of all people, who lined a home run to win the game for Chicago. Lidge is tremendous but has now blown two consecutive games. Pujols, you can understandable, but Podsednick is tough to swallow.

Oh and speaking of closing, Brian Cashman has exactly one week remaining on his contract as the GM of the Yankees. According to the New York Post, Cashman could announce his plans later this afternoon.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver