In a postseason where the Yankees have victimized closers Joe Nathan, Brien Fuentes, and Brad Lidge, Mariano Rivera has shown what it takes to be considered the best. And because he’s the best manager Joe Girardi might expect him to go two and maybe even three innings tonight.
According to Anthony McCarron of the Daily News, Girardi said yesterday that he is willing to use Rivera for two innings tonight and maybe even tomorrow if necessary.
“Hopefully, we don’t need it.” Rivera said when asked if it was possible he could even go three innings, “We will have to do whatever it takes to win the game. It’s a big game for us.”
My feeling is that Girardi will go with whatever the situation dictates. If the Yankees are within striking distance of winning tonight he’ll try to get whatever he thinks he can out of Rivera. Three innings doesn’t seem likely, but 2.1 or 2.2 innings is certainly possible if one of the other relievers gets into a jam.
If the Yankees find themselves in a situation where they need Rivera to keep them in a game, but are uncertain to win they will likely try to keep his pitch count down enough that he can go another inning or two tomorrow.
One thing is for certain, Girardi, unlike Joe Torre, will not be afraid to use Rivera if the game is on the line, even if it’s not a save situation.