Joe Girardi just lost his security blanket (for one night, anyway):
Due to inflammation in his right knee and a sore oblique, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is going to skip this year's All-Star Game. Rivera said he thought he could continue pitching for the Yankees until the All-Star break, but it would be prudent to take advantage of the four days off, rather than go to Anaheim.
"I've been pitching hurt," Rivera said.
Rivera, 40, has had the oblique injury for a while, but he said that the knee -- which is the one he uses to push off the rubber -- has been bothering him for a little more than a week. He said he needs to rest, and doesn't expect to have any more two-inning outings in the near future.
Gosh, I wonder what he'd do if he were healthy. Rivera's currently got a 1.08 ERA, the lowest of his career (and the 10th sub-2.00 mark). In his last seven outings, he's pitched nine innings and given up one run, with 11 strikeouts and one walk.
But if he says he needs a rest, he probably needs a rest. Hey, the guy's 40. Even if all he really wants is a mental-health break, who's to say he shouldn't have one?
Craig Calcaterra's right, though: This one might actually make a difference. Won't it be deliciously ironic if the American Leaguers blow a late-inning lead next Tuesday, and then in October the Yankees lose Game 7 on the road?
Yes, that's an unlikely sequence of events. Mostly, I'll just miss the chance to see the Greatest Reliever Ever against the National League's backups next week.