The Bronx Bombers are out of commission, or at least they might as well be, especially with all these listless and punchless performances they’ve been putting up as of late. The days of the Yankees engaging in a game that features 19 runs and actually winning are gone, or if they aren’t, then they’re at least on temporary leave for this year. These Yankees can’t engage in a slugfest and actually expect to win anymore. They are as bereft of offense now as they have ever been, and it’s a damn shame, because they have a pitching staff that has a case for genuine elite status.
The team’s nominal staff ace CC Sabathia has been below average this year, at least per his standards, and even old man Pettitte has fallen victim to the mediocrity monsters. Heck, even one time prized prospect Phil Hughes has been inconsistent, but that’s nothing new to Yankee fans, and yet all this really does is show people just how good the rest of the staff has actually been. Hiroki Kuroda, a right handed Japanese pitcher who is pushing 40, has emerged as the staff ace, putting up terrific outings left and right and serving as one of the few bright spots in what’s otherwise been a pretty dismal season. Ivan Nova has also been resurgent for these New York Yankees. Since coming off an early DL stint and a bullpen demotion that stemmed from his erratic performances, Nova has since become a stabilizing force in the rotation, acting as the team’s second best starting pitcher as well as a young player who may actually factor into the team’s future. Of course, any discussion of the team’s pitching staff would be incomplete without talking about the future Hall of Famer and team closer, Mariano Rivera.
He wears number 42, comes out to the song “Enter Sandman” and throws what may be the single greatest pitch in baseball history. His cutter, forever the object of scorn among Major League hitters, has long whittled down the bats of left handed hitters while neutralizing the sting that may come from the bats wielded by right handers. His is pitch of legend, and one that may ultimately earn him status as one of the game’s greatest pitchers, if such a title were not his already, and yet, what’s most remarkable about Rivera is not so much his pitching acumen and more his genuinely good-natured towards the game, his teammates, his fans, and just generally every person he has ever had the pleasure to meet. He is a true living legend and one all baseball fans will miss after this season.
Perhaps it’s fitting that Rivera’s final season has doubled to be an offensive disaster for his team. After years of dominating others, maybe it’s time the Yankees understood how it feels to be helpless at the plate. It’s shaping up to be a lost season in the Bronx, but no loss will be as painful as the one that will come at the end of the year when Mariano Rivera eventually calls it quits.
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