In 2008, lefties hit .147 off Rivera. The figure rose to .182 in 2009, .214 in 2010 and .267 this season.
"If there's an explanation, it would be that obviously people have seen him more, but his velocity is not quite what it used to be," Manager Joe Girardi said. "When I caught him, it was anywhere from 94 to 98. Now you're seeing 90 to 93. That's going to make a little bit of a difference."
Rivera may simply be making more mistakes with his cutter, leaving it over the plate a bit more often, leading to better contact and fewer soft groundouts. He has already allowed as many hits in 2011 as he did last season, 39, although he has faced 60 fewer batters.
- Although StadiumJourney.com didn't much like Mercer County Waterfront Park (home of the Trenton Thunder), I would have to disagree. Perhaps it's because I haven't been to the assuredly vast number of parks they've been to, but I've been to a good dozen or more minor and major league parks, and M.C.W.P. is one of my favorites. It's easy to get to, with minimal traffic, good and cheap seats available, solid food and a fun atmosphere.
The Yankees will soon have to find roster space for Alex Rodriguez, who is rehabbing from knee surgery and seems as if he is not more than a couple of weeks from a return. There is also increasing speculation that the Yankees could bring highly-touted Jesus Montero to the big leagues -- perhaps as soon as this week -- to serve as the regular designated hitter for the rest of the season.
- Elite catching prospect Gary Sanchez continued his torrid streak with a two-homer game last night in Low-A Charleston's win over the West Virginia Power (PIT). He now has seven in his last eight games. Perhaps the most impressive part was...
"Both home runs came on 0-2 pitches," [hitting coach Greg] Colbrunn said. "He fell behind in the count, but he didn't panic. He got two fastballs over the plate and him them to right field. That shows the kind of power he has. Using the opposite field lets him see the pitch a bit longer."
- Yankee connections in Atlanta. Remember the name Arodys Vizcaino from a few years back? He was promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to take the place of the recently-released Scott Proctor in the Braves' bullpen. Vizcaino will probably turn out to be Atlanta's biggest gain in the trade that sent Javy Vazquez to the Yanks in return for him, Melky Cabrera and Mike Dunn.
Then, of course, Vazquez declined arbitration with the Yankees, which led to the 51st overall pick in this year's amateur draft. That turned into Dante Bichette, Jr., who or may not have a very bright future ahead of him.
* This is why most trades cannot be graded right away. In our 24/7 media culture, we're expected to grade trades moments after they happen. Patience is not part of today's lexicon.