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Yankees sticking with Rafael Soriano in eighth inning setup role despite 7.84 ERA

Apr 27, 2011, 3:17 PM EDT

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Rafael Soriano had another ugly outing last night, blowing an eighth-inning lead and taking a loss while allowing two runs against the White Sox.

He now has a 7.84 ERA on the season, allowing nine runs in 10.1 innings, and has already walked eight batters after issuing a grand total of just 14 free passes in 62.1 innings last year.

However, manager Joe Girardi said after the game that the Yankees will stick with Soriano as their eighth-inning setup man in front of closer Mariano Rivera:

You’ve got to fight your way out of it. You keep using the guys. You get them on track. I haven’t lost any confidence in Rafael Soriano. This is a very good pitcher that just happened to give up a two-run homer. It’s a different animal here. Some guys come in and the transition is easy. Other guys, it can be difficult. I haven’t found the transition to be really difficult for him, I just think at times he hasn’t thrown great this year. I haven’t seen anything to tell me he can’t handle it.

I tend to agree with Girardi. Soriano has been a mess so far, but ultimately having a terrible 10-inning stretch doesn’t doom him for the entire season and he’s been too good for too long to think things won’t eventually get on track as long as he’s not pitching through some kind of an injury (his velocity is down compared to 2010, but only slightly).

Not only did Soriano save 45 games with a 1.73 ERA and .163 opponents’ batting average last season for the Rays, he has a 2.86 ERA in 405 career innings. This isn’t some mediocre pitcher who got lucky in a flukishly great season and is now coming back to down to earth. He’s one of the best, most dominant relievers of the past decade and is simply having an awful first month in New York. Or so the Yankees hope, since they’ve invested $35 million over three years in Soriano.

  1. aceshigh11 - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    As a Red Sox fan, I am fully supportive of this move.

    • uyf1950 - Apr 27, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      My friend, I can understand why you would be supportive at least in the short term…and considering how Bard and particularly Jenks have performed early on this season I more then understand since as the saying goes “misery loves company”.

      • aceshigh11 - Apr 27, 2011 at 6:28 PM

        Believe me, with our start, I’m not gloating.

        I’m just looking for little bits of hope wherever I can.

  2. Detroit Michael - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I completely disagree with Craig. Let him work out his troubles in lower leverage innings. A manager shouldn’t stick with a relievers who’s going through a bad stretch by continuing to have him pitch in high leverage situations.

    • Detroit Michael - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:15 PM

      Sorry, I should have said Aaron, not Craig.

  3. derpdederpdederp - Apr 27, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    and people said at $35mil the yankees overpaid to get this guy………………

  4. pisano - Apr 28, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    This guy is a proven winner, he’ll be in top form before too long. Every pitcher will have a rough spot along the line, but remember the cream always comes to the top.

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