Accountability will be important, possibly in the eyes of his teammates as well. But throwing strikes will be more important, and the closer turned setup man had poor command, walking three, including one with the bases loaded, and giving up a single to help blow the 4-0 lead for CC Sabathia in the eighth.
The four runs allowed matched a career worst for Soriano as a reliever. The three walks matched the most he’d ever given up as a starter or reliever.
Take this for an example for accountability. On those rare occasions through the years when Rivera has been a major culprit in a loss, his accountability never has been in doubt. He always faced the media, explained his outing, never broke the imperturbable poker face. He was as good at accountability as throwing a cutter.
After his first meltdown as a Yankee, Soriano vanished. He never came to his locker. A flustered Yankees media relations official conceded Soriano probably dressed quickly and departed, leaving others to explain his ineffectiveness. This would not be quite as big a deal if Soriano’s reputation were closer to pristine. But in previous stops in Atlanta and Tampa Bay, he was known for being prickly, reclusive, determined not to be used in any way, but how he thought fit.
If Soriano is going to succeed in New York with the Yankees he’s got to be accountable. Good or bad, he’s got to be accountable. When his attention and fastball seem off, there is natural wonder if Soriano does not think 4-0 in the eighth inning is worth his full attention. That would have been among the questions asked had he handled last night with professionalism. Instead, he fled, leaving uncertainty if this was a singular poor effort for a talented pitcher or a bad omen of things to come?
Was it because of the cold that Soriano faltered? Pitching the day before? Unfamiliarity with the role? Or anger at being asked to take the ball at 4-0 in the eighth? Soriano played to the worst of his reputation and was not around to answer. The worst part is not that he gave up the lead but the fact that he wasn’t accountable. Going forward, that will tell the story of Soriano’s tenure in New York.