How much do the Yankees miss Mariano Rivera? All you had to do was watch Monday’s game against the Blue Jays to answer that question.
They miss him a lot.
With Rivera out and Kyle Farnsworth unavailable, the Yankees had to use four relievers to hold on to a four-run lead in the ninth. Scary stuff, but never fear Yankees fans — Rivera will be back, most likely this weekend.
Mo will throw his second bullpen session on Tuesday, and if all goes well, he could be in a game Friday in Tampa Bay. He says he only needs three outings to get ready for the playoffs, and if the Yankees are to make the run to the World Series that everybody expects, they’ll need Rivera to be his usual October self.
Gary Sheffield also did some work at first base with Don Mattingly on Monday, and for the most part, he looked good. Of course, there was the one throw that went about 15 feet over the head of the second baseman — a throw which Bordo and I witnessed from the window of the Hard Rock Cafe at the Rogers Centre — which almost hit the outfield wall on a fly.
I think Sheffield will get a chance to show the Yanks that he can play first base during the final 10 days of the season, but will he be there for the playoffs? I guess anything is possible.
Tuesday, Sheff will play a simulated game, which could be one of the final steps before he returns. Adding him to a lineup that already has Hideki Matsui hitting eighth is a scary thought.
Monday’s win over Toronto has to be considered a bonus for the Yankees, who were completely exhausted after the two doubleheaders over the weekend. Darrell Rasner pitched another good game, Jeter and A-Rod homered and the Yanks reduced their magic number to 3.
Tuesday, Jeff Karstens gets the ball against Shaun Marcum, giving the Yankees a chance to win the series and bring the magic number to 2 — or possibly 1, if the Red Sox lose. Wednesday is Roy Halladay vs. Sean Henn, so the Yanks better get the job done Tuesday.