By Larry Barnes | Yankees ‘n More
It might sound strange to say this on a night when Mariano Rivera just successfully closed out a 3-2 win in a shutout 9th inning on the road for his 21st save in 23 chances, but… I’m concerned about Mariano Rivera.

For the first time in God only knows how long, Mo was out there tonight with his cutter. He got by with basically sinkers (2-seamer) and 4-seam fastballs. He had good velocity (94 on some of the 4-seamers), but his command wasn’t nearly as sharp as normal.

We know Rivera has been fighting some sort of strain or pain in his side, which is why he chose to skip the All-Star game. We also know that’s been a lingering issue for Rivera this season.

Whether that or something else is an issue, there seems to be an issue. When is the last time Rivera didn’t have good cutting action on the ball and was forced to turn to other pitches? And, at least to these eyes, Rivera’s delivery did not appear NEARLY as smooth tonight as what we’ve we all become used to seeing.

Compound all of that with the multiple reports that say the Yankees have been pushing very hard in an attempt to get Joakim Soria away from Kansas City. In an ideal world, the Yankees would love to make Soria the setup man for Mo.

Perhaps, however, part of the reason (assuming the reports are accurate) that Brian Cashman is pushing so hard is because he believes he might need somebody else to close games before this season is over.

It’s just one game. But we know Rivera has been dealing with some issues throughout the season, and what we saw tonight is worthy of at least some concern.

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