Back during Rafael Soriano’s introductory press conference — the one during which Brian Cashman said that he wasn’t in favor of signing the reliever — the GM made it clear that his opposition had nothing to do with Soriano’s ability, but rather the amount of money they’d be dedicating to a set-up man. So now that Soriano’s proving to be something less than automatic — last night, he allowed an eighth-inning Paul Konerko home run that turned a 2–1 Yankees lead into a 3–2 Yankees deficit (and lost a potential win for Ivan Nova) — Cashman doesn’t even get to say, “I told you so.”
Soriano has allowed runs in four of his nine outings this year — nine runs in total, or just three fewer than he allowed all of last year. Already, columnists are asking whether he can handle pitching in New York and whether he should be demoted to the seventh inning. Already, bloggers are joking that “Rafael Soriano” is Spanish for “Kyle Farnsworth.” And it’s not even May. Of course, that means he has time to settle in, bring down his bloated 7.84 ERA, and prove he can effectively set up for Mariano Rivera. Because so far, he’s been far too inconsistent.
Then again, the Yankees might have won anyway if not for Brent Lillibridge, who made a spectacular catch with men on first and second to rob Alex Rodriguez of a hit, then, with Robinson Cano batting, made another one — still with runners on first and second — to end the game and earn himself some new Wikipedia “facts.” And it’s not Soriano’s fault that the Yankees managed just two runs and four hits, just a day after being held to no runs on three hits. But while Nova did his job — just as everyone in the rotation has over the last five games — Soriano didn’t do his.