After Monday's meltdown, Rafael Soriano had a seat next to the mentor, Mariano Rivera, on Tuesday. When Yankees president Randy Levine and agent Scott Boras dreamed up the Soriano deal to the Yankees before last season, they had days like this in mind when the Greatest of All Time would counsel the the 32-year-old Soriano.
So Rivera told Soriano that he fell too in love with his slider on Monday, throwing five in a row, the last of which ended up being deposited in the seats for a Colby Rasmus three-run homer and a blown save.
"Your best pitch right now is the fastball," Soriano said Rivera told him. "Why you have to throw so many sliders?"
Soriano entered Tuesday trying to protect a one-run lead. Then, he retired three straight -- two on strikeouts. Russell Martin thought he looked angry on the mound. What was it about him?
"His demeanor," Martin said after Yankees 2, Blue Jays 1. "He looked like there was a little anger. He took it out the right way."
Soriano saved his 34th game in 37 chances, but looked better than ever.
"That is as good a stuff as I'd seen him have this year," Girardi said.
Soriano was out to talk to the media immediately after his save, something he didn't do on Monday. Soriano blamed PR director Jason Zillo for the no-show, which wasn't exactly taking responsibility for his own actions. Rivera emphasized to Soriano that he has to speak in good times and especially bad.
"Hey, 'What did I tell you last year?'" Soriano said Rivera told him. "You have to talk to these guys. Sometimes you don't have to talk to them because nobody wants to know. So when that thing happened like that, 'Wait and see, because they are going to want to talk to you.' I said, 'Alright, bro, I know you told me last year.' I make a mistake because Jason make a mistake."
Girardi, as is his custom, defended his closer for his imperfect all-around performance Monday.
"Every once in awhile, they are not going to have that perfect day," Girardi said.
"You do your job 95 percent of the time, but it doesn't make it easier that five percent, added Girardi."
Soriano, though, seems happy filling in for Rivera. Working his third day in a row, he was a mixture of anger and joy on the mound.
"I think he is real even keeled," Girardi said. "I think he approaches each day the same. That's one of the things that allows him to do what he does. You can have the tough game and bounce right back. I don't think you ever see Sori get too high or too low. He is pretty level-headed like that.
"I think he enjoys being the closer. You are not going to see a lot of smiles out there. He has a personality that is pretty good for that role."
Rivera has the best demeanor ever for the role and he is trying to let it rub off on Soriano.