In case you didn’t know, Mariano Rivera is human and always has been since he made his MLB debut in 1995 as a starter for the New York Yankees. However, after his third consecutive blown save, the first time he has done that in his career, people are wondering if Rivera is finally hitting that bump in the road.
The simple answer is, Rivera has had little hiccups in the past and gone through spells where doubts began to be raised about whether or not this was the end. Now, as Rivera actually is nearing his retirement, he is dealing with these very same questions and doubts. Before you start wondering whether Mariano will right the ship understand how effective he has been at 43-years-old.
Rivera entered August with a 1.60 ERA and 34 saves. He recorded his 35th save of the year and lowered his ERA to 1.56 in an August 3rd 3-0 win over the San Diego Padres. Then, on August 7th, Rivera had the first hiccup against the Chicago White Sox when he blew a ninth inning lead. It was just his third blown save of the season. Two nights later, Rivera came in and blew his second consecutive save, giving up two runs on a home run by Miguel Cabrera. The Yankees went on to win that game but Rivera’s ERA went up to 2.08, the first time his ERA was over 2.00 since May 8th.
On August 11th, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez victimized Rivera for two long home runs to tie the game. It took a walk-off home run by Brett Gardner to prevent Rivera from becoming the goat instead of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time in case you were wondering). The third consecutive blown save for Rivera had many Yankee fans wondering what universe they were trapped in. In a season that has featured surreal moment after surreal moment it is Rivera’s three straight blown saves that has caused the most head-scratching.
Rivera is not done. His 2.44 ERA is not even the highest he has had this season. In case you were wondering, he sported a 2.57 ERA after giving up his second run of the season in his seventh appearance of the season. Small sample right? Well, so is the three games he has blown.
There is no reason to think that after three games Rivera is suddenly cooked, that he is out of gas, that he will finish the season with the worst stats of his career. Just remember, Rivera was having one of his best seasons of his career before these three games and there is no reason to think he won’t resume pitching like he was just a week ago.