Mariano Rivera is simply the greatest relief pitcher the game of baseball has ever seen, but the Boston Red Sox don’t seem to care. You see, the New York Yankees‘ biggest rivals have proven to be Rivera’s toughest opponent. After he blew the save in Thursday night’s game, I just had to crunch the numbers, and here is what I found.
Most would simply point to the fact the Yankees and Red Sox play each other more than any other teams, so naturally Mariano would have more rough outings against the Red Sox. Well, let’s take a quick look at those numbers. The Red Sox and Yankees face each other 19 games in the 162 game season, or 12 percent of each team’s schedule. But the Red Sox only account for 10 percent of Mariano Rivera’s career save opportunities.
Of Rivera’s career saves, only 9 percent have come at the Red Sox’ expense. As for Mariano’s blown saves, now that is a different story. When Quintin Berry crossed the plate to tie the game at eight Thursday night, it marked the 17th time Rivera has blown a save in the regular season against the Red Sox. That would be 22 percent of all Rivera’s career blown saves.
What do all these numbers really mean? Well, it means the Boston Red Sox have been the most effective team at beating Mariano Rivera as any in baseball history.
Back in the 2005 season, the year after Rivera blew two saves against the Red Sox in the ALCS, eventually propelling the Sox to their first championship in 86 years, a fan had a sign that simply said, “We need some runs, Bring in Mo”. Well, apparently, that fan was onto something.