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Don’t Worry Yankee Fans, Mariano Rivera Will Be Fine

Mike Stobe, Getty Images

This happens every year.  Yankee fans start to question whether this is the end of Mariano Rivera. 

After 3 straight shaky outings this week, those questions are starting up again.

Don’t worry about Mariano Rivera, he’ll be fine.  

Just use some logic here.  Rivera’s ERA is still 2.40 - not 5.40.  His WHIP is exactly 1.00, he’s only given up 3 homeruns all year and opponents are still only hitting .241 against him.  This is nothing more than a bad week – he’s had them before.  No one is immune to slumps. – not even Mariano.

Look at the stats this season – Rivera has 30 saves - tied for 7th in the MLB, and only 6 behind rookie phenom Craig Kimbrel who leads the way.  He has a 2.40 ERA, which is 6th among closers with 20 or more saves.  He only has 5 blown saves, which is tied for 10th in the MLB with about 10 other pitchers. While yes, he is getting old, it is not abnormal for closers to blow saves.

Rivera goes through a struggle like this every year.

We are all overlooking one major point: If the closer for the other 29 teams has 3 bad outings in a row, nobody in that fan base would be thinking he was “done.” But, because it is Mariano Rivera, and he is getting old, and he never looks bad in 3 straight outings, everyone is blowing it out of proportion. He’ll be fine.

In 2007, Mo blew his first 2 save opportunities and gave up 9 earned runs in 7.2 innings. He then went to record 30 of 32 saves and post a 2.26 ERA over the last 5 months of the season.  Last September of last season, he had 3 blown saves and posted a 4.76 ERA for the month.

Mo began the 2005 season with 2 straight blown saves against the Red Sox and then Yankee fans booed him.  He then went on to record 43 of 47 save opportunities, and post a career low in ERA (1.38).

When Rivera struggles, it seems to bug him for a few outings.  But eventually, he always figures it out, and posts filthy numbers.

What other closer would you rather have?

Michael Heiman, Getty Images

Really think about this one. There’s a plethora of rookies out there (Kimbrel, Drew Storen, Jordan Walden) who have not proven themselves in more than 1 season.  Would you want any of them?  Or what about Joel Hanrahan - who has come on this season, but has done squat in his career.  Or possibly Jose Valverde, or “K-Rod” who have had mega problems in the past?

The only two closers I can think of is Brian Wilson and Heath Bell, but with the game on the line – I WANT MO!

Closer is a position where the players have a 3-4 year shelf life tops.  Look at Jokim Soria of the Royals – awesome the past few years but a wreck this year. 

Mariano Rivera is the best closer of all time, and has done it for most of the my intern’s lifetime, something unheard of for closers.

But I will say that a closer’s demise is quick and out of the blue. One day they’re great, the next day they can’t get anyone out.  It’s like having car troubles – stuff just ends up breaking. What’s the first thing you say when your car breaks down? “My car wasn’t doing this before. What happened?”

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