BEST OF THE BEST: MO' OFFICIALLY THE G.O.A.T.
Mariano Rivera etched his name in the record books last Monday afternoon with his 602nd career save, passing Trevor Hoffman for the most all-time. He struck out lefty Chris Parmelee, who was facing Rivera for the first time, for the final out.
The odds were heavily against Parmelee getting a hit against Rivera. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, left-handed hitters are hitting .159 (68-429) in their first career plate appearance vs Rivera.
It was the 20th time this season that Rivera ended a game with a strikeout, his most in any season of his career. His previous best of 19 came in 2008.
MOLINA STRIKES BACK
The Yankees finished their four-city road trip in Toronto and dropped the opener last Friday night, 5-4, on a game-winning hit by Jose Molina in the bottom of the ninth. This was their 23rd one-run loss of the season, which is their most in a season since they lost 24 games by one run in 1992.
It was also the fourth walk-off loss of this road trip, with each coming in a different city (Baltimore, Anaheim, Seattle, Toronto). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the first time that the Yankees have lost games in walk-off fashion in each of four straight series since 1962.
Brett Gardner stole his 44th and 45th bases of the season in the loss. Gardner, who had 47 steals last year, is the third Yankee to have at least 45 steals in back-to-back season. Fritz Maisel did it in 1914 and 1915, while Rickey Henderson did it in 1985 and 1986.
40 IS GRAND FOR CURTIS
The Yankees rallied for a 7-6 win on Saturday, thanks to a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning by Curtis Granderson. It was the 40th home run of the season for the Grandy-man, joining Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio as the only Yankee centerfielders to hit 40-or-more homers in a single season.
40+ HR, 20+ Doubles, 10+ Triples
Single Season, Yankees All-Time
A search of the Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com tells us that Granderson is now the fourth Yankee to have a season with at least 40 homers, 10 triples and 20 doubles.
And even more impressive is the fact that the only other player in major-league history to have 40 home runs, 10 triples and 20 stolen bases in a season is Willie Mays, who did it in 1955.
Rivera got his record-tying 601st save in this game with a perfect 9th inning. It was his 60th appearance of the season, and the 14th time he has reached that number of games in a season. He passes Mike Stanton for the most 60-game seasons pitched in major-league history.
MORROW MOWS 'EM DOWN
The Yankees were blanked by the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon, 3-0, as Brandon Morrow struck out eight batters in eight shutout innings. Morrow now has 74 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings in 10 career starts against the Yankees.
His average of 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings versus the Yankees is the second-highest for any pitcher through his first 10 starts against the Yankees, according to Elias. The only other pitcher with a better rate was Pedro Martinez, who averaged 11.4 K per nine innings from 1997 to 2000 for the Expos and Red Sox.
It was the 26th game this season the Yankees have been held to five hits or fewer. Only one other Yankee team in the last 20 seasons has had that many five-hit or fewer games: in 2003, they had 27 games with five hits or fewer.
THREE TIMES A CHARM
Rivera's record-breaking 602nd save may have dominated the buzz surrounding Monday's 6-4 win over the Twins, but it wasn’t the lone historic event of note from that game.
A.J. Burnett didn’t get the win as he lasted just four innings, but he did strike out eight batters before getting the hook in the fifth inning. Burnett joins Chuck Cary (1990) and Andy Pettitte (2010) as the only Yankees in the Live Ball Era to strike out eight guys in four innings or fewer.
Robinson Cano hit the Yankees 33rd triple this season, which is the most since the 1999 team had 36. However, it's just the second time that the teams has had that many triples and at least 200 homers in a season. The 1961 squad belted 240 homers and 40 triples en route to their World Series title.
STRANDED IN THE BRONX
The Yankees opened their four-game series with Rays on Tuesday night with a 5-0 win in the Bronx. Ivan Nova pitched another gem, tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings for his 16th win of the season.
Most Consecutive Decisions Won
Yankees Last 50 Seasons
He is now 12-0 in his last 15 starts, becoming the third Yankees rookie starter to win 12 straight decisions, according to Elias. Russ Ford won 12 straight in 1910 and Donald Atley did it in 1939.
The Yankees went 5-for-20 with runners in scoring position in the game and left 18 men on base. In the Live Ball Era, that's most men they've left on base in a nine-inning game they won. It's the second-most in any nine-inning game, surpassed only by a 13-7 loss to Red Sox in 1956 when they stranded an AL-record 20 men.
Granderson sparked the offense, driving in four of the five runs. It was his fifth game with four-or-more RBI as the second hitter in the batting order this season, and it gave him 92 RBI out of the two spot this season.
Granderson's five four-RBI games are now the most in a single season by a Yankee number two batter, passing Tommy Henrich in 1948. And his 92 RBI matches Derek Jeter in 1999 for the most in a single season by a Yankee number two batter.
The Yankees rallied for a 4-2 win in the first game of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader against the Rays, a victory that put them into the playoffs for the 16th time in the last 17 seasons. It is also the 50th postseason appearance for the franchise, which is nearly twice as many postseason appearances as the second place team on the all-time list (Dodgers with 26).
Most Postseason Appearances
Phil Hughes was scratched from the start, so Hector Noesi took the ball in the first inning but threw just 55 pitches and didn't finish the third frame. In all, the Yankees used eight pitchers to get the victory.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's just the second time in team history that the Yankees have used eight pitchers in a nine-inning game -- but it's the first time they've done it in a win. On September 27, 2005, the Yankees used eight pitchers in a loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards.
HIP, HIP, JORGE
The Yankees swept the doubleheader vs. the Rays with another come-from-behind 4-2 win in the nightcap. This victory, coupled with an earlier Red Sox loss, made the Yankees AL East champs for the 12th time in the Wild Card Era (since 1995). Their 12 division titles since 1995 are the most of any team.
Our perennial Guest Yankeemetrician, Mark Simon, gives us this great note (with help from Elias), about the unlikelihood of the Yankees winning both ends of their doubleheader in their final turn at-bat:
It marked the first time they had done that since July 2, 1978, when they beat the Tigers, 3-2, and 5-3 in a doubleheader in New York. They won game one on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly by Chris Chambliss, and took Game 2 on a walk-off homer by Gary Thomasson.
Jorge Posada drove in the game-winning runs with a two-RBI pinch-hit single in the eighth inning. Posada now has 14 pinch-hit, go-ahead RBI in the seventh inning or later in his career. Since 1950, he is now tied with Johnny Blanchard for the most pinch-hit RBI in the seventh or later that gave the team the lead.
HAPPY HANGOVER DAY
The Yankees couldn't complete the sweep of the Rays, as they followed up their euphoric division-clinching win on Wednesday night with a laughable 15-8 loss Thursday. The 15 runs scored by the Rays matches the second-most they've scored against the Yankees. They beat the Yankees 15-5 on April 13, 2009 and 19-6 on July 29, 2006.
Rookie Matt Moore, making his first major-league career start, dominated the Yankee lineup with 11 strikeouts in just five innings. According to Elias, Moore is the first pitcher to strike out at least 11 hitters, pitching five innings or fewer against the Yankees.
The Legend of Moore grows even larger as Elias also tells us that Moore's 11 strikeouts match the most strikeouts in a game by a pitcher whose first major-league start came against the Yankees. The other pitcher was Luis Tiant, who struck out 11 for the Indians on July 19, 1964.