Mariano Rivera did not have to enter last night's 15-9 marathon win over the Red Sox, which means The Sandman will be available tonight if the Yankees need him.
And with Joba in Nebraska and can't-quite-get-out-of-the-sixth-inning Mike Mussina starting, the Yankees could be in desperate need of Rivera tonight. Especially when a repeat offensive outburst is far-fetched with Red Sox ace Josh Beckett pitching.
"He is the top of the list of pitchers I have ever caught," fill-in catcher Chad Moeller said of Rivera. "It is no secret what is coming. He just executes it every time. You know what is coming and there is nothing you can do with it."
Rivera has looked as dominant in 2008 at the age of 38 as he has been throughout his career. In 6 1/3 innings, he has given up three hits, walked none and struck out six. Most importantly, he has not allowed a run in earning his five saves.
The end results have been good since Chamberlain left the team to be near his ailing father in his hometown of Lincoln, Neb. Three games, three wins. But the means to get those wins have not been pretty.
Billy Traber and Bruney were roughed up Monday in Tampa Bay when they allowed a 7-1 lead to evaporate. Ross Ohlendorf was knocked around in last night's win, and a 7-3 advantage turned into a 9-7 deficit.
The Bombers' bats and the always reliable Mariano Rivera have bailed them out thus far...but just how long can it hold up?