In an early morning post at Bronx Banter, I took a look at some of Mariano Rivera’s failures, and pointed out how they sometimes define his greatness even more than his long resume of success. The timing of the post was particularly relevant because in this afternoon’s 7-6 victory against the Angels, the future Hall of Famer had another blip that illustrates just how incredible his long career has been.
As much as we want to think that he’s about as close to the perfect closer as we have seen, he’s not perfect.” – Joe Girardi, quoted by AP, August 11, 2011
For a three-game stretch, I’ve never seen him get hit this way,” – Russell Branyan, quoted by AP, August 11, 2011
Like every manager, Joe Girardi has become a slave to the save, so, despite having a four-run lead, the Yankees had Rivera warming up while Cory Wade started the ninth inning. Almost as if part of a self-fulfilling prophecy, Wade allowed two of the first three batters to reach, which brought the tying run to the on-deck circle and Rivera into the game. Usually, Mariano quickly restores order in such situations, but this time, he added a little fuel to the fire. On his first pitch, a flat cutter that hung over the inside corner, Russell Branyan deposited a towering fly ball into the right field seats, drawing the Angels to within one, and Rivera to the brink of another blown save.
Mariano Rivera’s Only Stretch of Three Negative Outcomes
Note: BS=Blown Save; BW= Blown Save and Win; L= Loss
After surrendering the three-run blast to Branyan, Rivera slammed the door on a 7-6 victory by retiring the next two batters. By recording his 589th save, Mariano avoided being tagged with a blown save in consecutive outings for only the ninth time in his career. More impressively, he also skirted having three consecutive outings with a negative outcome (loss or blown save) for only the second time in his career.
Although Rivera was able to preserve the victory, he still wound up matching two other career low points. Not only did Branyan’s long ball represent the fourth time Rivera has surrendered a home run in consecutive outings, but it also marked the fifth time the great Yankees’ closer yielded an earned run in three straight appearances (interestingly, four such streaks have occurred in August).
Longest “Negative Streaks” Among the Top-10 Saves Leaders
|Longest Consecutive Strks|
Almost without fail each summer, Mariano Rivera has a bad stretch that leads Yankees’ fans and columnists alike to wonder if the end is near. However, the legendary closer has always dispelled the panic by finishing strong down the stretch. Based on his performance leading up to last Sunday, there’s no reason to believe he won’t follow the same script this season, even if he has pushed the envelope with his latest lull.
Monthly Distribution of Rivera’s Earned Runs Allowed Streaks
Note: One “3 ER” and one “2 ER” streak spanned two months. In both cases, it was counted in the month the streak began.