In May of 2012 when Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees tore his ACL, it was heartbreaking. It is always bad when a player gets hurt, but when it is someone who is an integral part of their team, it really is terrible. Even though Rafael Soriano did an admirable job filling in for Rivera last season, things were not the same without Mariano.
I was glad when Mariano announced in November that he was coming back this season, but also had my suspicions. I wondered if he could still pitch effectively considering he is 43. So far, Rivera is off to a good start with 12 saves in 14 games. The good thing is that he does not have any blown saves yet.
The thing that I would like to see him improve is his ERA. Right now, it is 2.03. That is not bad, but a closer’s job is to close out games without giving up any runs. It seems that every time Rivera comes in, he usually gives up at least one hit and that’s something he needs to work on.
The Yankees have won a lot of close games this year, which means more work for Mariano. The wins are always good, but the Yanks need to start scoring more runs. If they have to bring in Mariano frequently, it could wear him out. Mariano needs to be fresh and ready to go. Nevertheless, it is always a good sign when “Enter Sandman” starts blasting through the speakers at Yankee Stadium.
Mariano said that he will catch fly-balls this weekend when the Yankees visit Kansas City. We all know what happened the last time he did this. This time, Mariano needs to go in smarter and I am sure that he has learned his lesson.