Anyway, here's Rob Neyer with another take:
If you're playing a computer game, you bring in Rivera to keep the game close. Absolutely. A game this important, a lineup this potent ... You bring in Rivera, if only to force Cliff Lee to throw another dozen or more pitches. Or put some mileage on Neftali Feliz's arm.Who cares?
In the real world, though? For better or worse, managers don't like to ask relief pitchers (or anyone else) to do things they've never done before, or haven't (at the least) been asked about doing. Pitch two innings in October? Sure. Rivera's done that 27 times since taking over as the Yankees' closer in 1997.
Pitching while the Yankees are behind, though? Actually, I was surprised to discover that Rivera entered two games last October in which the Yankees were losing: Game 2 of the Division Series, and Game 5 of the ALCS. In both cases, the Yankees were behind by one run and two runners were on base. Which is to say, in both cases the situation was more dire -- in more need of Rivera's singular talents -- than it was Monday night against the Rangers.
Still, the situations weren't that different ... except for this. After Game 2 of the Division Series last year, the Yankees had a scheduled day off. After Game 5 of the ALCS last year, the Yankees had two scheduled days off (an idea so brilliant that even MLB realized it was idiotic). Point being, Joe Girardi didn't have to worry about tomorrow because there wasn't any tomorrow.
This time, there was a tomorrow. Two tomorrows. You want to guess how many times in 2010 Rivera has pitched on three straight days?
Zero. He hasn't done it, not even once.
Why does it matter what he has or hasn't done during this year's regular season? Mo only had one two-inning outing in the 2009 regular season and zero outings of more than two innings, but that didn't stop Girardi from using him for two innings twice last October, and one time for 2.1 innings. This is October, you do what you have to do to win.
To me it was a pretty easy decision; get Mo in the game, keep the score at 2-0 and take a crack at their Feliz.
What do you think? Should Girardi have gone to Mo?