Mood Music - The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles
After the bad contract, Brian Cashman's disapproval, Spring Training rules, puppy dog eyes, Kyle Farnsworth comparisons, and a bad April, things really couldn't have started worse for Rafael Soriano. Since coming off the DL, however, he's starting to show us what we can expect for the rest of this year, and (Brothers Stein, Levine) beyond.
Joe Girardi saying "I think he's just really back to himself" is likely true. Soriano has always been an effective pitcher, even if the other stuff (acts like a baby, overpaid) is likely true as well.
Four letter network on Mariano Rivera and his recent struggles:
Rivera has pitched to a staggering 13.50 ERA in his last three outings, allowing two home runs and four overall. Opponents have hit .400 against him in that span.
Holy small sample size, Batman. That's 2.2 innings we're talking about. I've put my level of concern about Rivera at a 5/10, and largely agree with Brian Cashman: "He's superhuman, but he's still human." I think it's foolish to start hitting the panic button over a few poor outings, but it might be equally foolish to completely dismiss a loss of movement and location in a 41 year old pitcher.
As you've likely already heard, Alex Rodriguez homered on his first swing in his first rehab game for High A Tampa. Quoth the Centaur on this feat (link):
For me, the home run meant a little bit more than a home run just because the last several weeks I was playing in New York I wasn't able to drive the ball," Rodriguez said. "I probably didn't hit a home run for like, over 70 at-bats.
My team expects me to hit the ball and drive the ball out of the park," Rodriguez said. "That's what I expect out of myself, too. So hopefully I can come back and hit the ground running, and help my team win the division and go from there.
He's right. The Yankees are going to need him to mash when he comes back, which will hopefully be in the very near future.
Finally, Rob Neyer takes a look at The Great Curtis Granderson Swing Change, complete with .gifs, analysis, and discussion of his MVP resume.