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Mariano Rivera: is it time to panic?

Sep 27, 2010, 10:57 AM EDT

Mariano Rivera has blown three saves in his last six outings. In that time he’s given up six runs on nine hits in five and two-thirds innings. There is consternation about this in various corners of the Internet this morning. Is it time to panic?

While panicking can be quite fun, I’m inclined towards chilling out. Yes, Mo’s September 10th and September 11th outings in Texas led to the most pitches he’s thrown on back-to-back games all year: 44. But to the extent that led to anxiety that he was being overused, it should have been extinguished by the five days he got off between his last two outings. Sure, he blew a save again last night, but that had far more to do with his inattention to baserunners. The Sox stole four bases off him in the ninth, and they really were more Mo’s fault than Jorge Posada’s. It’s not like he got smacked around.

With a playoff berth all but clinched at this point, Joe Girardi can give Rivera a week off if he truly wants to in order to alleviate any fatigue concerns, even if those are valid.  My guess though: we’re so used to seeing Rivera dominate that when he has a bad little stretch like the one he’s having now, it seems more unusual and scary than bad little stretches from other, mere mortal closers.

But seriously, Mo: work on checking the runner once in a while, OK?

  1. BC - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    His ERA was like 0.00000000002 before this stretch. It’s the law of averages. Now that they’re basically in the playoffs they can give him a few days off and all will be well.

  2. lardin - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    The Yankees have, what, seven games left? MO will pitch in one maybe two games tops, just to stay sharp. We probably wont see MO until the second to last game of the season in Boston. Its a good idea. In the playoffs, if the Yankees can get three outs from Robertson, Wood and MO, they will win

  3. YANKEES1996 - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Time to panic… no, I don’t think so, time to begin grooming an heir apparent…yes.

  4. Old Gator - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    I agree. Then in the offseason, the Mutts can sign him to a nine figure five year extension. I say lock him up now!

  5. geoknows - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    It’s the Yankees…it’s ALWAYS time to panic.

  6. RichardInBigD - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    The time to begin grooming an heir apparent has long since passed. Mo has taken that step over the edge of the cliff where, were this a cartoon, he would be frantically running in place in mid air. All that remains is for him to plummet to the bottom, get run over by a train, and have an anvil fall on his head (where do those anvils come from, anyway?).

  7. ndirishman - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    Mo will be just fine. As the article says, the latest blown save was due to inattention to baserunners. If we’ve seen anything from Mariano Rivera over the last decade and a half, we should know that this “issue” will never truly be an “issue” again.

  8. Simon DelMonte - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    It’s Mo. He’s still better than any option known to man. But he’s getting old, no doubt about it.

  9. BC - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    At least we’d have a reasonable expectation that Mo would stay out of jail….

  10. YANKEES1996 - Sep 27, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    As of this point the Yanks have not had anyone in the system or even contemplated replacing Mo and to be quite honest you don’t worry about guys that are as solid as he has been, for as long as he has been. The way that Mo came up and fell so easily into that role is not something that happens very often so I really don’t believe that there is another Hoffman or another Rivera just waiting in the shadows. Given the choice of closers actively working in the Major Leagues right now I would still choose to send Mo out there everyday and twice on Sunday. But it is an area of the pitching staff that requires some attention.

  11. RDansky - Sep 27, 2010 at 12:12 PM

    Acme Corporation

  12. BC - Sep 27, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    Right you are:

  13. Flup - Sep 27, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Mo’s inattention to baserunners arguably cost the Yanks the 2004 ALCS (it at least opened the door to the comeback). I’ve seen teams, particularly the Sox, run on him for years and he doesn’t seem to have fixed the problem. Kalish and Hall didn’t run on him last night because they were feeling frisky. They ran on him because that was the plan. One of the really amazing things about it is that stolen bases seem to rattle him enough that he becomes moderately hittable. I’m surprised more teams don’t do it.

  14. aleskel - Sep 27, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    It’s worth noting that all three of his blown saves were in games where he was trying to protect a 1-run lead. If the Yankees were scoring more runs and weren’t leaving the games with such tight margins of error, we probably wouldn’t even be talking about this.

  15. aleskel - Sep 27, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    It’s worth noting that all three of his blown saves were in games where he was trying to protect a 1-run lead. If the Yankees were scoring more runs and weren’t leaving the games with such tight margins of error, we probably wouldn’t even be talking about this.

  16. John_Michael - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    You have to get on base in order to steal. Have you seen his WHIP?

  17. Md23Rewls - Sep 27, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    He was putting up one of the best seasons of his career prior to this little rough patch. Whatever this might be a case of–I’d say simple tiredness, probably–as a Yankee fan, I feel no panic whatsoever. It’s not like he’s getting smacked around.

  18. floridaguy - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Mo will never be the problem! The Yankees don’t have to worry about Mo for the playoffs. Since Girardi and Cashman have instituted a rest program, I want to remind them that they are not running a convalescent home. You can’t turn momentum on and off. The Yankees will come to rest in peace during the first or second round in the playoffs.

  19. keabu - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    I think Girardi has been misusing Rivera since Joe got there…IMO you should never bring your closer in for more than four outs and NEVER in a tie game…home or away

  20. Flup - Sep 27, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Well, yeah, obviously. But I think what the Sox have figured out is that since you can’t count on many mistakes from him, you’ve got to make the most of the chances you have. You’re not going to get your baserunner around by stringing together several hits. Kalish scored on a single, but Hall on a sac fly.

  21. Mark - Sep 27, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    I would think that as a closer it’s his job to protect games, especially those with 1 run leads. If the Yankees had scored more runs, they wouldn’t have needed Rivera because it wouldn’t be a save situation. And while I hate the save stat, Girardi is only gonna use Rivera in that situation. So I’m not sure that’s a legit excuse.

  22. Pisano - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    I’d like to say it’s time for major changes with the Yankees . They have seemed to get old over night . I have been watching baseball for most of my life and have never seen a team of that supposed high caliber give up four stolen bases in one inning . Posada , Jeter and Mo need to be replaced . Jeter is not having a bad year , he’s in major decline , Posada , is totally over the hill , and Mo is showing his age . The Yankees had better get a catcher (John Buck) in the off season , a closer (Soriano of the Rays) is in order , and a young shortstop. (maybe in house) I love the Yanks , but they won’t go far in the playoffs (exit first round) The weaknesses were exposed the last few weeks . Hopefully they won’t think they can get another year out of the above mentioned group . It’s time for major changes .

  23. Pisano - Sep 28, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    You should be very concerned , it’s time for major changes. Read my post below and see if it makes sense to you . One thing I forgot to add is Joba must go ! a total loser .

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