Monday, September 17, 2007

Gagne's Best Pitch Plunks Rivera

Visiting relievers better be careful while pacing the narrow stretch of real estate located behind the right-centerfield wall of Fenway Park. After last night, opposing teams may issue their closers a set of Medieval armor before allowing them to loosen, stretch or hoard sunflower seeds.

Apparently while warming up in the visiting bullpen, Mariano Rivera was plunked on the arm by an erratic throw from Eric Gagne, who was simultaneously warming up in the Boston bullpen. The pitch, probably the most valuable one he's thrown in a Red Sox uniform, hit Mo flush on the back of his pitching elbow, leaving the Yankee closer's arm numb and possibly contributing to his 9th inning struggles last night.

From George King of the NY Post:
Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning of last night's game moments after his right arm went numb when hit by an errant toss that came from the Red Sox bullpen that adjoins the Yankees' pen beyond Fenway Park's right-field fence.

As Rivera prepared to protect a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth, he was struck in the back of the elbow by a ball thrown wildly by Eric Gagne.

"It came in hot," said Yankees reliever Ron Villone, who witnessed the scary moment. "He couldn't feel his arm; it was numb. We were in the bullpen saying, 'Oh no.' "

Whether or not that incident is to blame for Mo's lack of control last night is debatable. What is certain, is that a closer's focus should entail shutout pitching while on the mound, and not dodging grenades while warming up.

By far the most impressive pitch Gagne's thrown after August 1st. Maybe Terry Francona is getting even after Joba Chamberlain's 100mph chin-music forced Kevin Youkilis to don Pampers under his jock-strap whenever he digs in against New York. Then again, that would mean that Gag-ne once again missed his spot, plunking the wrong pitcher.

No comments: