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Monday reading: Mariano Rivera, Joe Girardi the Mets and the Phillies

At a wacky Yankees game, I wrote about Mariano Rivera, who blew his second straight save opportunity.

There's zero reason to think that this is anything more than a blip for Rivera. But it's Rivera. So it's a big story, of course.

Had Rivera gotten a call on some close pitches in his battle with Adam Jones to start the ninth - which became a leadoff walk - then the game might have proceeded differently. Similarly, had Rafael Soriano been available, then Joe Girardi wouldn't have needed to call upon Rivera in the ninth.

But it is what it is, and the Orioles definitely hit a few balls hard off of Rivera. We'll see how he does the next time he pitches. It won't be tonight, not after throwing 33 pitches yesterday.

--Baseball-Reference.com has all of Rivera's instances of back-to-back saves. This was his eighth such occasion.

--Yankees-Orioles really was a fun game; it's not often you get the double-doozy of a rain delay in extra innings, and during a getaway day on top of that. Joe Girardi had a number of decisions to make, some of which I discussed in the column. I didn't object strongly to either taking out Freddy Garcia after six innings and 90 pitches or to going to Rivera (rather than Boone Logan) against Luke Scott in the bottom of the eighth - which resulted in Brett Gardner making a huge catch.

If anything, my biggest point of disagreement came when Girardi brought back Logan after the rain delay. About 50 minutes passed between Logan's final pitch in the bottom of the 10th and his first pitch in the bottom of the 11th.

Girardi pointed out that Logan began throwing in the bullpen about a half-hour after his last pitch, when it became clear the game would resume shortly. Fair enough. It just seems to me that Logan is all the more valuable in the wake of Pedro Feliciano's injury.

--The Mets swept past the Diamondbacks, and David Wright had a good day, David Lennon writes. Let's see how this road swing through Washington and Philadelphia goes. If the Mets record a strong week, then they'll propel themselves back into relevance, in a market looking for stories now that the Knicks and Rangers are done.

--The Mets executed some roster machinations, with D.J. Carrasco going to the minors and Dillon Gee likely switching to the bullpen. Don't love the idea of Gee not starting every five days, but I again salute this new Mets management for acting so decisively. It's such a pleasant contrast to the old days, when the whole world would be shouting, "Hey, Omar, release (Frank Catalanotto, Gary Matthews Jr., Oliver Perez)!" and it would take forever to get something done.

--Roy Halladay dominated the Padres, and the Phillies (15-6) own the best record in baseball. Not only are they doing this without arguably their best position player, Chase Utley, but their backup closer, Jose Contreras, went on the disabled list yesterday. Now Ryan Madson gets the job.

So far, the Phillies are proving what it figured they'd have to prove - that a historically elite starting rotation can cover up for many other questions.

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