Mariano Rivera specializes in the save, something we were reminded of on Friday.
When Rivera tore his ACL on Thursday in Kansas City, it felt like it was going to cast a black cloud over the weekend and, quite possibly, the rest of the season. The prospect of saying goodbye to Rivera in that way was a painful one to contemplate.
But Rivera on Friday assured the world that he was going to do everything in his power to return for the 2013 season so that he could finish his career standing on the mound.
His manner brought a little cheer back into a situation that was devoid of it on Thursday night as everyone processed the Rivera injury, including a Yankees team that seemed unsure of how to proceed without their closer. They got wins on Friday and Sunday to split the series with the Royals and make for a mostly good baseball weekend in these parts.
GOOD: The Mets lost their only game of the series with the Diamondbacks on Friday, but they did it in winning fashion. They honored the late Adam Yauch, aka MCA of the Beastie Boys, by having every Met come to the plate accompanied by a Beastie Boys song, a warm tribute to a child of New York lost far too soon.
BAD then GOOD: The Mets bullpen was a big part of the loss on Friday night, a continuation of a bad trend from the road trip and a generally rough run for closer Frank Francisco. But three shutout innings on Saturday and Sunday turned things around for the relievers and helped the Mets to another series win.
UGLY then GOOD: The Yankees had managed 11 runs in their previous five games, including a one-spot in Saturday's loss to Felipe Paulino of the Royals, but the offense came to life on Sunday. Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira, both ice cold this season, hit home runs and the Yankees put 10 on the board to wring out the split.
GOOD: Johan Santana's wait for a win wasn't quite as dry as the Knicks' playoff victory desert, but 2010 was a long time ago and Santana certainly should have gotten one earlier this season. He had to wait until Saturday as the Mets finally put up enough runs for him to pick up a victory in this successful comeback campaign.
UGLY: Ruben Tejada has done a fine job as the first shortstop of the post-Reyes era, but his game isn't quite all the way there yet. As illustration, we submit the pratfall that was his attempt to get to first base on Sunday and move on to hoping he's not out for too long.
GOOD: Phil Hughes actually pitched a competent game of baseball, everybody! While his previous start was met with inexplicable praise from the team, this one was actually worth some good notices and gives him a little more rope in the rotation.