Today is April 6 and a year ago, Rafael Soriano was in Tampa Bay and was the winning pitcher in a 4-3 Rays' victory over the Orioles. That day, Soriano began a 45-save season by working out of a bases-loaded jam.
Last night, Soriano failed to work out of the same situation as he gave up three walks for the first time as a relief pitcher. Then he did one of the cardinal sins, especially in New York and that was not owning up to it.
Whether he pitches a third straight game remains to be seen, especially since he has thrown 51 pitches during the last two games, but one thing is certain, Soriano deserves a lot of credit for apologizing. Not only did he apologize but he was authentic, engaging and vowed it would never occur again.
"I think it takes character and I think it takes self-evaluation and understanding that you probably should have been there," manager Joe Girardi said. "But as I said, there are going to be days that guys don't feel like talking and I guess it's considered worse to not show up and just give one-word answers and say anything that you don't mean."
Not only did Soriano appear at his locker close to 4:00, he stood there for 10 minutes and explained everything. Below is some of what he said about his actions, blowing off his mother and what happened on the field last night.
"I’m apologizing," Soriano said. "I didn’t talk to you guys last night but the reason I did it is because I got mad because that game CC is supposed to win. That’s why I got mad and I don’t feel comfortable talking to you guys. I know last night, I had to talk to you guys and it will never happen again."
"She called me and I don’t answer my phone too because I don’t feel comfortable to talk to her.” Soriano said with a laugh. “So I feel like that. So I said alright, let me go home and let me relax.”
"I don’t know what happened,” Soriano said. “I feel like I throw a couple of pitches and I felt like I don’t have balance.”
In terms of his role and satisfaction with being a setup man after closing games, Soriano did not outwardly display any problems with it.
"I have to be ready. Last night I think I’m ready to go and I tried to do the best that I can and nothing happened,” the reliever said before later adding. "I’ll (pitch) in the six, seventh, eighth or ninth. It don’t matter. I’m here to win."
Whether or not we see Soriano won't be known until the late innings, but we will see Gustavo Molina catching Freddy Garcia. We also will see Eric Chavez manning third base and Eduardo Nunez at short.
It will be interesting to see Chavez play the field for the first time since April 24, 2009. Injuries have robbed Chavez of most of his range as evidenced by his decline in range ratings from Strat-O-Matic, which gave him a 1 between 2001-06.
As for the Twins, Joe Mauer will not play, which might be good news for Garcia. Mauer is 13-for-31 lifetime off Garcia, whom he saw numerous times when he played with the White Sox.