One of the worst-kept secrets surrounding Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game was that legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera would pitch at some point during the night. Hours before the game, American League manager Jim Leyland did everything short of making that official when he was quoted (by CBS Sports) as saying:
“I assume he is going to come in very healthy and you can rest assured, he will be on the mound at some point,” American League manager Jim Leyland says. “You will see him pitch. Whether it be to a hitter, an inning, depending on how the game goes, obviously. But you will see No. 42 pitch.”
Rivera has been absolutely electric this season, posting a 1.83 ERA with 30 saves in the first “half” of the season. Those numbers exceed expectations even for Rivera, as he was coming off of a season-long injury, and somehow, it seems as if his success has been under-covered this season.
That will all change tonight, as the national audience will get one inning with Rivera, and if there is anyone who deserves a virtual “guarantee” to pitch an inning, it’s him. Now, for the sake of the American League, they’d better hope he performs like the “old” or “current” Rivera with home-field advantage in the World Series on the line.