For several hours before Rivera took the ball Saturday afternoon in that tie game, he’d suffered with a stomach ailment that brought aches and repeated vomiting, according to one Yankee. Rivera had rolled off the trainer’s table, where he’d hoped to sleep it off, and into the bullpen in the eighth inning, when he began to warm up.
Joe at RAB directs the attention of his post to commending the fact that Mariano stepped up and took the ball, even though he wasn't at his peak and didn't make excuses about it. Although once the information came out, the media was more than happy to make those excuses for him.
The thing I have a problem with is that according to Brown, Girardi knew that Mo was physically ill and laying on the trainer's table until he started warming up into the eighth inning. Mo is a warrior and a consummate professional, but no one is going to be able to bring their A-Game when they are battling a stomach virus.
I first-guessed the decision to take out Sabathia (without knowledge of Mo's condition) on Saturday. It was a borderline call. It's not like the Yanks were clinging to a one run lead and Phil Coke had just pitched the 8th inning. Sabathia, at 101 pitches, was ready to come back out for the 9th but Girardi went with "the book" even though his closer was vomiting a few innings earlier. I'm sure Mo said he was ready to pitch, but it's the manager's job to get the best performance out of his players, and calling on Mo in that spot was a dicey proposition at best.