Mariano Rivera Is Still a Human Being

Rivera blows save and Yankees wind up losing in 10 innings

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Apr 20, 2011  |  Updated 10:35 AM EDT
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Mariano Rivera Is Still a Human Being

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If all goes well, Rivera's blown save will join Tax Day as a once-a-year pain in the neck.

There are those that believe that April 19, 2011 is the date when the machines gained the self-awareness that sent them on the way to revolting against humankind, touching off bloody wars and the neverending series of "Terminator" films and television shows.

When you consider that (and the brutality of the Knicks loss, for that matter), it kinda puts Mariano Rivera blowing a save into perspective, doesn't it?

Okay, maybe it doesn't, but it is nice to know that when Skynet brings the thunder down, we can still count on Mo as part of the human resistance. Even if it comes with a loss to the Blue Jays, it is always nice to get a reminder that Rivera is still one of us.

Because he is, there are nights when the cutter doesn't miss bats and gets sent into the outfield for a couple of singles in a row and there are nights when guys drop perfect squeeze bunts to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth. Breaking down what went wrong in that inning is a waste of time, so let's look at things from another angle.

After the Yankees went down meekly in the 10th inning, Joe Girardi chose to put Ivan Nova into the game to pitch. Two days off this week means you can use the rotation member in relief, but that doesn't mean you should.

The Yankees are carrying Hector Noesi and Lance Pendleton in the bullpen right now and you have to wonder why they are on the roster if they aren't going to pitch in games like Tuesday night's. They might wind up losing the game, but Nova's recent performances don't give you much reason to think he's going to do any better.

Of course, Girardi also could have used David Robertson for more than two outs in the sixth inning and kept Joba Chamberlain for extra innings. That would mean not designating a seventh inning reliever who pitches the seventh inning regardless of any context, however, and that's just not going to fly with Captain Regimented in the dugout.

If Noesi and Pendleton aren't going to pitch, then send them down to the minors and add some bench players to help out the lineup. If you did that, then you could have pinch-hit for Brett Gardner with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning while still having a decent defensive option to take over for him in left field.

They don't and Gardner, mired in a horrendous slump, didn't capitalize on the opportunity to post some more runs in support of the pitching staff. As it turns out, those runs would have come in handy but awkward roster construction is the order of the day with the Yankees.

We'll let you get back to worrying about the coming robot overlords now. Who knows, perhaps they'll show more flexibility when it comes to baseball management than Girardi.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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