In the past two nights Rafael Soriano has thrown 51 pitches, ranging from one extreme to the other.
The first 19 occurred in the eighth inning Monday when he flawlessly protected an 4-3 lead. The next 32 occurred in the eighth inning Tuesday when he came nowhere close to protecting a four-run lead in a game the Yankees eventually lost in 10 innings.
After Monday, Soriano admitted he was still finding his velocity. After Tuesday, he did not admit anything, at least not to the gathering of television, radio and print reporters, who were seeking a few minutes to hear about what went wrong with his command.
So the question is will this be the only time Soriano implodes? Probably not because reality says relievers no matter the talent level, will implode more than once.
The next question is will this be the only time Soriano does not act accountable for not being able to get it done.
For his sake, you'd hope so, because while I'm not a big powerful media guy, the players who don't tend to get bad reputations from media and more importantly teammates.
Even ex-players weigh in, notably Steve Karsay, who tweeted the following when he found out:
"He should face the music. Big deal you have to tell people you had a bad game! Grow up"
Whatever Soriano would have said, would have lasted probably somewhere between five to eight minutes with several different forms of questioning about the events of the eighth inning.
Speaking of questions, the term eighth-inning guy was thrown around numerous times by manager Joe Girardi, who explained why he brought Soriano into a four-run game and why he didn't let him finish.
"Because he’s our eighth-inning guy and you can’t assume. If you’re 4-0 in the ninth, you don’t go to Mo, but you’re trying to get it to that point. We just didn’t get it done.”
"He threw 19 pitches yesterday and he was at 32 today. Physically, I’m not going to blow him out on April 5. He’s not a guy that throws that many pitches in an inning, so I felt it was time to get him out.”
"No. Soriano is our eighth-inning guy and by no means is four runs a game in the bag as we just saw, so you do bring your eighth-inning guy in. You want to give him a clean inning to start, you know that he’s going to face some tough hitters, so that was the guy I was going to go to.”
"I’m going to go to my eighth-inning guy. If you can get in a situation where you don’t have to use your closer, that’s how you get to not using your closer. I have a 41-year-old closer down there, so if there’s nights I can give him off, I’m going to try to get him a night off. By going to Soriano, that’s what you do.”
"I think he’ll handle it well. He’s been a closer in pennant races and in tough situations."
Regardless of your thoughts about Soriano pitching in a four-run game (personally I thought allowing two hits through seven on 104 pitches was good enough for CC Sabathia to begin the eighth but what do I know), he is getting paid a ton to do that sort of job and failed for the first time on the mound and in the accountability department.