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Rays get to Rivera again

Jun 6, 2009, 7:15 PM EDT

Stat of the day: After his latest adventure
against the Rays this afternoon, Mariano Rivera has now allowed an un
Rivera-like nine runs this season after yielding 11 all of last season.

Of course, it’s well-documented that he’s already served up five
homers in just 23 1/3 innings this season. That’s the most he’s allowed
in a season since 2001 — but, of course, that was over the course of
80 2/3 innings. Pretty alarming, no? Following offseason shoulder
surgery, there were some early and obvious concerns about his velocity,
however he was throwing his cutter at about 93 MPH this week, pretty
much where it was before the procedure.

Bad outings from relievers tend to inflate statistics — and after
his last blowup against the Rays on May 7, giving up back-to-back
homers for the first time in his career, Rivera had a season-high 3.97
ERA. But since then, Rivera had allowed just one run over his last 11
1/3 innings pitched, including five consecutive scoreless appearances
leading into Saturday. He entered today’s game with a 2.38 ERA, the
lowest it’s been since April. Also, his trademark control remains
intact, with a 28/2 K/BB ratio thus far.

Yeah, I know, the sports-talk radio folk are gonna say Rivera just
isn’t the same pitcher. And maybe he isn’t. It makes for great drama,
especially when a fanbase has been spoiled for this long. But in a
bullpen full of Tomko’s, Robertson’s and Coke’s, Rivera is the least of
their problems.

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