Yankees Daily Briefing 09/15/11

The Yankees will have a much-needed off day on Thursday before playing the Blue Jays at home. They will have the added advantage of reducing their magic number for either the wild card or division spot no matter what, since the Rays and Red Sox play against each other while the Yankees are idle.

Discussion of the Day: Which do you think is the bigger accomplishment for Mariano Rivera -- 600 regular season saves, or his 0.71 postseason ERA?

1) After surpassing 600 saves on Tuesday, Rivera has received much attention. Andrew Marchand writes that Rivera’s true value lies in what he brings to the team in the postseason while Joe Posnanski tries to figure out the meaning of 600 saves.

Rivera’s long and Hall of Fame-caliber career is hard to qualify, because there is no one to compare him to. Even Trevor Hoffman, the only other reliever to notch 600 saves, has a respectable career ERA+ of 141, while Rivera’s is at an astounding 205. The list of relief pitchers who have been anywhere near as successful is small, to say the least. Perhaps the easiest way to understand how great Rivera is would be to consider the uncertainty when any other reliever – even one such as David Robertson -- comes in to close the game. Rivera might not win World Series by himself, but it might be that he, and not Derek Jeter, has been the Yankees’ most consistent performer over the last two decades.

2) Moshe Mandel at The Yankee Analysts takes a look at the Yankees’ preliminary 2012 schedule.

The most intriguing note thus far about the 2012 schedule might be the interleague slate – the Yankees not only do not play the Mets to open interleague play in May (they play them twice in June), but also have two series against the Braves, who are not a traditional rival (unless, of course, one includes the late 1990s). It also marks yet another year in which the Los Angeles Dodgers have not visited New York for interleague play, which is an even larger oversight when one considers the historical relationship between the two teams. Also of note is that the Yankees have just two September off days in 2012, so the Yankees (and their fans) will have to hope that the weather in 2012 will prove less of a foe than it has in 2011.

3) Jay Jaffe considers CC Sabathia’s Cy Young case.

Sabathia has had a decent year (by his standards), and in fact has a better ERA and ERA+ than he did last year, although given the depressed offense statistics this season it might not seem that way. The issue, as Jaffe notes is that Sabathia hasn’t necessarily been any better than his competition – namely Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver -- and Verlander, not Sabathia has faced the tougher schedule. Still, Sabathia remains one of the most valuable players on the Yankees, and whether or not he wins the Cy Young is much less important than how he pitches for the team in October.

4) The minor league season is over for all affiliates.

Dante Bichette, Jr. was named the 2011 GCL MVP. The Yankees’ first draft pick of 2011 hit .342/.446/.505 and ranked at or near the top in many offensive categories.