Mariano Rivera is probably the best closer who ever lived. After a freak accident before Thursday’s game in Kansas City, the Yankees megastar reliever tore his ACL. His season, and possibly his career, is over.
Rivera was shagging fly balls during batting practice before the game against the Royals and twisted his knee chasing down a fly ball hit by Jason Nix. Here’s the video of what occurred.
Rivera has the all time major league saves record with 608. He also has finished the most games, 892, in baseball history. He has previously hinted at retirement after the season, and it is yet to be seen if he will try to come back to pitch the 2013 season.
David Robertson will likely close in Rivera’s stead, with Rafael Soriano and possibly Phil Hughes as his primary setup men.
In a contract year in 2011 with San Diego, Heath Bell went 3-4 with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. However, his strikeouts per nine innings plummeted from 11.1 to 7.3. That was a decently sized red flag, but it didn’t prevent Miami from inking Bell to a three-year deal worth $27 million as part of an offseason makeover that included a logo and name change, a new stadium and the additions of Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle.
The start to Bell’s 2012 season could not have gone worse. Bell has blown saves in four of his seven opportunities going 0-3 with an 11.74 ERA with more walks than strikeouts. Is it the pressure of a large contract and a new environment?
“Heath Bell’s velocity is way down. Around 91 mph,” says Troy Renck, the excellent Rockies beat writer and national baseball reporter for the Denver Post. “Looks like he’s rushing in his delivery. Missing location badly. Might need a break.”
His fastball is down a mile per hour and his sinker is down a half a mile per hour, according to FanGraps, but it has to be his location that’s throwing him off. Perhaps he is rushing, like Renck says, but it could also be nerves, a dead arm or mechanical issues that is making his fastball flat and his command worse than pedestrian. Bell pitched his third straight day on Wednesday and perhaps Guillen isn’t using him as well as he could.
The Marlins may be inclined to give Bell a break, or a lesser role in the bullpen for the time being. Edward Mujica pitched the ninth on Thursday for the save in Thursday’s 3-2 win over the Giants, but Mujica and Steve Cishek could be getting more save opportunities in the future. Perhaps a break from his role as closer will allow Bell to regain his old form, the form that got him such a lucrative contract with the newly minted Miami Marlins.
After a very big offseason, the Angels were the fashionable pick to win the World Series in 2012. Unfortunately for the Anaheim faithful, the season has been a huge disappointment thus far.
Many believe the struggles of the homerless Albert Pujols is the major reason why the Angels are sitting at the bottom the AL West. While the criticism is fair, the blame should rest solely on the shoulders of the first baseman.
For the most part, the Angels’ lineup has been a complete disappointment. To be honest, the Angels should not expect much out of Vernon Wells (they shouldn’t have traded for him in the first place), but the play of Pujols is baffling. For a player to go from one of the most feared hitters in the league to a below average player is shocking. What is even more worrisome for Angels’ management is that Pujols is locked up for the next 10 years.
While Pujols is clearly on the decline of his career (he posted career lows last season), it would be foolish to believe he won’t come around. He is simply too good to post these lethargic numbers. When Pujols starts hitting, the Angels lineup should be above average when you include the likes of Kendry Morales, Torii Hunter, Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo.
The Angels have had a rough first 25 games, but at the same time they are 10-15 and most of the panic has stemmed from Pujols and the zero home runs. Once this offense clicks the Angels should start winning, especially when facing the anemic Mariner and Athletic offenses. The Angels rotation has been spectacular outside of Ervin Santana, and you should expect that production to remain the same when you have Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and C.J. Wilson leading the rotation. If I were a betting man, I’d say the Angels are a lock for one of the two wild card spots and they can be really dangerous in the playoff with said starters. At the same time though, this is an aging and overpaid roster and if they don’t do it this year, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim could be labeled the worst team money can buy.