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Mariano Rivera gives it up at home for first time this year

Aug 10, 2011, 12:01 AM EDT

Mariano Rivera Reuters

Fresh off taking his fifth blown save Sunday in Boston, Mariano Rivera was beaten at home for the first time this year Tuesday, as he surrendered a two-run homer to Bobby Abreu in a tie game in what turned out to be a 6-4 loss for the Yankees against the Angels.

Rivera entered with a 0.37 ERA at Yankee Stadium this season.  He had allowed one run and posted a 19/1 K/BB ratio in 24 1/3 innings.  He was — and still is — 17-for-17 saving games at home, compared to 12-for-17 on the road.  Since he entered a tie game tonight, he was handed his second loss of the year, but he didn’t get a blown save.

Abreu’s homer was just the second hit off Rivera this year.  The other came off the bat of Reed Johnson in the Yankees’ 4-3 win over the Cubs on June 18.

Abreu also homered off A.J. Burnett in the contest.  It was his 16th career multihomer game and first since Sept. 19, 2010.  He entered with just four homers this season.

The starters were pretty much a wash tonight.  Burnett allowed four runs in six innings before coming out.  Dan Haren had a 4-1 lead at that point, but he coughed up three runs in the seventh to tie the game up.

The Bombers tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth to let Rivera off the hook, as an Eduardo Nunez single and a Derek Jeter walk put the tying run on base with one out against Jordan WaldenCurtis Granderson then hit a grounder that should have been a game-ending double play, but Howie Kendrick got lazy and the Angels weren’t able to turn two.

That made Granderson the tying run on first with Mark Teixeira up.  Granderson, though, was picked off with the old fake-to-third, throw-to-first move, taking the bat out of Teixeira’s hands.

Still, the story from tonight will likely focus less on Granderson’s blunder and more on Rivera’s struggles.  Rivera’s ERA is still strong at 2.23, but the blown save and the loss in consecutive outings is unusual to say the least.  Also, he’s now allowed as many hits in 44 1/3 innings this season (39) that he did in 60 innings last year.  His current batting average against of .241 would be his second highest mark in his 16 years as a reliever.

  1. rsnorth - Aug 9, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    The pick-off was a straight step-off by Walden after Granderson broke. Walden tried the fake to third move a couple of times but it didn’t work.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:05 AM

      He definitely faked to third, but, yeah, he didn’t take it as far as he did the earlier one.

  2. kinggeorge96 - Aug 9, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    even with mo blowing up the past couple of games his stats are still more than acceptable, if not excellent. he’s still (holding on to) giving up less runners (39/5) then innings pitched… he’ll be back to form in no time!

    • Old Gator - Aug 9, 2011 at 11:54 PM

      It’s wishful thinking. He’s getting old and he’s only human. I suspect we’re just seeing him beginning to wear out. If the Borg is smart, they’ll start looking hard for his successor – though boyoboy, is that going to be one huge pair of cleats to fill.

      • Ari Collins - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:08 AM

        People have thought Rivera is “getting old” and “only human” at some point during the season every season since 2004. Maybe earlier. He’ll have the same numbers at the end of the season that he does every year.

        He’s not getting old. And he’s not human.

      • Old Gator - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:14 AM

        Rivera wasn’t 42 in 2004. And unless and until someone pries open that little hatch at the back of his head that they used to repair whatever ailed Data, and shows me the blinking lights, I am going to insist on his essentially anthropoid essence.

      • pisano - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:26 AM

        I agree with you Gator, it’s time. If Soriano is 100% healthy they should start thinking about him for some save situations and if they’re not certain about Soriano or if he breaks down again they have Robertson. The Yankees have depth at the closer spot, but they have to realize Rivera’s age combined with the fact these other teams have seen him for years now and he’s not fooling anyone any more.

      • hittfamily - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:49 AM

        Soriano was straight nasty for the Rays last year. He’d slide right back into that role

      • Ari Collins - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:59 AM

        Are you guys crazy? There’s no better closer out there. Not only is he the best reliever in at least the AL East, so the Yankees SHOULDN’T worry about him, but there’s no freakin’ way they give his save chances to anyone else. They’ll start Burnett in the first game of the playoffs first.

      • Ari Collins - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:00 AM

        And mother@#*(ers act like they forgot about Mo.

      • mornelithe - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:12 AM

        @ Ari: While I completely agree with you that assuming Mo’s done, just because of 2 bad days is ridiculous…is he considered a reliever? Or a closer? Maybe I’m just not quite up to snuff with the lingo, but I figured the two were completely separate.

        As a closer, he’s really second to none, I like the Sox, but I’m not about to fanboy myself into thinking he’s going to blow every save from now on. But, I dunno, wouldn’t someone who can come in and work longer be considered a better reliever? Mo just isn’t used in that capacity, is he? Again, I could be looking at it wrong so by all means, educate away heh.

      • Ari Collins - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:17 AM

        The relievers who go more than one inning tend to be the long relievers, though, right? Alfredo Aceves may vulture a lot of wins, but he’s not that great a pitcher.

        It was a weird way for me to put it. But I’d say he’s the best reliever in baseball as well as the best closer in baseball. There might be a handful of guys with better numbers this year than Rivera, but only a handful, and none of them have done it consistently. Rivera has done it every single year. Including this one. And he’s the best bet to do it again next year.

      • mornelithe - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:28 AM

        @ Ari: Nah, it’s ok, I just wasn’t exactly sure if the term reliever was appropriate for Mo or not. Was thinking that baseball looked at a reliever and closer in different lights, ya know?

      • mornelithe - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:29 AM

        @ Ari: To further clarify, I hear the terms…reliever, closer, setup man, etc… and it gets me thinking that they are truly separate. In which case, it made me think Mo wasn’t a reliever, make more sense? =)

      • spindervish - Aug 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM

        You’re over-thinking it. A reliever is a pitcher who pitches out of the bullpen. All non-starting pitchers.

        Terms like long man, set-up man and closer are just describing the various roles a reliever can fill.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:01 PM

        @pisano “…he’s not fooling anyone any more.”

        Career ERA: 2.23
        2011 ERA: 2.23

        Career WHIP: 1.000
        2011 WHIP: 0.99

        Career K per 9 IP: 8.21
        2011 K per 9 IP: 7.92

        Career BB per 9 IP: 2.05
        2011 BB per 9 IP: 1.02

        Career OpBA: .211
        2011 OpBA: .243

        Career HR per 9 IP: 0.5
        2011 HR per 9 IP: 0.4

        That is all.

        stats courtesy of:
        (http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2011/08/10/he-just-happened-to-throw-a-ball-that-didnt-cut/)

      • mornelithe - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        @ Spindervish: Thanks, that’s what I was beginning to think after Ari corrected me. Appreciate the info =)

  3. frankvzappa - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    Hilarious hilariousness. At least Pettite knew when to hang ‘em up…Jorge, Rivera, and Jeter should have all retired when Andy did and saved everybody a huge headache. The next few years are going to be awesome to watch these has-beens get worse and worse, as a desperate Yankees organization and fanbase clings to and pays them for past glories.

    Red Sox Nation

    • Kevin S. - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:23 AM

      You do know that Rivera leads all AL relievers in fWAR, right? It’s a two-game blip. He just had it in August instead of April this year.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 10, 2011 at 7:41 AM

        I take that back, Robertson and Papelbon slipped ahead of him. Still right there, though.

  4. hittfamily - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    Mariano Rivera gives it up at home for first time this year

    Substitute “my wife” for “Mariano Rivera”, and unfortunately, there is a lot of truth to that statement.

    • pisano - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:05 AM

      I think many of us can relate.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 10, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      With your crazy views on the Giants-Phillies brawl, I can see why ;)

  5. Ari Collins - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    After tonight, his WHIP is 0.99 and his ERA 2.23. His career WHIP is 1.00 and his career ERA is 2.22.

    • mornelithe - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:31 AM

      Stick a fork in him, .01 over his norm, he’s finished! lol.

  6. md23rewlz - Aug 10, 2011 at 4:33 AM

    Rivera goes through a little stretch like this every single season, and we always see the inevitable “Rivera is getting old” article, and at the end of the season, his numbers are about where his numbers always are. In the Boston game, he gave up a bad double to Scutaro, but the rest of the inning was a botched bunt play by Nunez (runner would have been out by five feet if he’d played it correctly) and a sac fly. It’s not like Mo got crushed. In a similar one-run game on Friday he shut ‘em down 1-2-3. As for this game against Anaheim, it’s just one of those things. Happens to the best. His margin for error might be smaller now that he’s throwing 91-93, but it’s not like there’s a trend of failure here. It’s two subpar games against two good teams that have played well against the Yankees for certain stretches in the last decade. Let’s not go crazy and talk about giving Soriano save opportunities or weird things like that. Rivera was still a great closer after Friday’s save, that hasn’t changed in the span of four days. Unless you are incredibly short-sighted. In which case, yes, Rivera sucks and needs to be pushed out of the closer role.

    • yankeefanincolo - Aug 10, 2011 at 9:45 AM

      md23 is right, Mariano does go through a short stretch like this every year, and it is almost always a two-game blip. And if my memory is right, he has more problems closing agains the Red Sux than any other team. I tried to find a table or some sort of record of his blown saves to see if I remembered correctly, but couldn’t find anything, so if anyone can direct me to such info I would appreciate it. Watching the Yankee game on Sunday evening, and seeing Mo getting ready to come in for the 9th, I thought to myself, “Does anyone else feel a twinge of uncertainty here?” Remembering his track record against Boston, I was worried. I almost think Girardi shouldn’t use Mo in save situations against the Sux, but I’ll reserve final judgment until I can find the stats. All that being said, Mo is still the greatest closer in the game and I wouldn’t think twice about sending him out in a save situation tonight.

      • Jack Marshall - Aug 10, 2011 at 11:48 AM

        The stats quoted on the ESPN broadcast Sunday was that 14 of Rivera’s 70+ blown saves were against Boston, about 20%. Frankly, I thought it was more.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 10, 2011 at 5:03 PM

        Out of curiosity, did they say how many of his save attempts were against Boston? The Yankees are much more likely to be in a close game against them than, say, Kansas City. Also, we’d expect a team that’s perennially had one of the best offenses in baseball to do at least a little better than the average team, even against great pitchers.

  7. yankeesgameday - Aug 10, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    River’s loss last night was about the mashup as anything. Bobby abreau is the worst guy for him to face; great plate discipline, fast hands inside and someon

    • yankeesgameday - Aug 10, 2011 at 9:27 AM

      Someone who can adjust to the cutter. When mo got behind him the entire at bat went in abreau’s favor. There are only a handful of guys that worry the crap out of me when rivers pitches: abreau, scutaro, pedroia, Hamilton and Adrian gonzalez.

      I’d add utley to that mix but the Yanks don’t face him enough.

      Mo isn’t a machine, he bleeds, he’s a man.

  8. phukyouk - Aug 10, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Listen… Mo is a man and hes getting older. fact is that hes giving up alot more hits this year than in past years. the lead batter seems to be on base pretty often. in his history he has never done well in tie games so last night was not a fluke or an abnormality (sp?). he will be just fine and yea.. he may be on the decline but hes FOURTY-TWO so cutter him some slack. worst case is that Robertson comes in in ties games in the ninth and Soriano in the 8th. its not the end of the world.

  9. derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    Bum. Its ok, you have the heir apparent to Mos job in Soriano or Jaba the Hut or maybe Hughes! hahahahaha

    • Kevin S. - Aug 10, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      I find it interesting that you ignored the best reliever in the AL this year.

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 11:22 AM

        talk to me when hes pitched more than one year of above-average ball

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:12 PM

        @derp

        Daniel Bard career WAR = 3.4
        David Robertson Career WAR = 3.9

        Better K/9, better FIP, and way more STFU.

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:47 PM

        cool, I can use Google too. and what does Bard have to do with anything? I love you Yankees fans, your logic is just so foreign to us normal folks but we find it hilarious anyways

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:49 PM

        love the screen name btw, sabthiawouldbegoodintheeighttoo if he could make it that deep against the Sox

    • yournuts - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:38 PM

      Again you ignorant idiot. You show you lack of knowledge about baseball. If I counted the number of blown save by Mo Rivera over the years it is only 10 in his career. No wonder everybody thinks that Red Sox fans are so stupid! You the poster imbecile for them. I’ll say this one more time for you. You can beat the Yankees 18 times in the Regular season, it does not matter, the Yankees will be playing Post Season baseball, hopefully against you or the team that beats you. Yankees 27 times World Series Winners, How many times have the Red Sox won the World Series?

      When the Red Sox catch up then write something intelligent!

      • derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        bragging about the Yankees 27 WS titles just gets tiresome. funny how every argument with a Yankees fan ends with that. I think some form of Godwins Law should apply to you people bringing up 27 all the time. we werent there for almost all of them so what does it matter? its like me saying the Leafs are a respectable team now because theyve won 13 Stanley Cups. for the record I like Mo and think hes a class guy, but its just so enjoyable messing with the fragile and bloated ego of John Q. YankeesFan

  10. Jack Marshall - Aug 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    I’ve given up predicting when Mariano will wear out, but the stat I saw yesterday about left-handed batters hitting 50 points higher than usual against him this year is a red flag. The same thing happened to Eck. Rivera is still the best, but Yankee fans arguing that he isn’t declining are fooling themselves.

    That said, there is no way he will ever be removed as the full-time closer this year, or ever, until he retires, removes himself, or is embarrassing the team by pitching like Heathcliff Slocumb. Nor should be.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 10, 2011 at 5:05 PM

      In-season reliever platoon splits? Yeesh. Less than worthless.

  11. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Oh noes, Mariano wasn’t perfect! Which is shocking because he has been for 15 effing years. Do we really have to do this every time he gives up 2 runs in the same week?

    The fact that these posts show up every time he gives up a run is a testament to how great he has been, and still is. Nobody gives a fart when another closer has 2 less than perfect games. And Mo hardly got rocked in either. In any park but Fenway, Scutaro would have flied out (flew out?) to LF, and in any park except Yankee Stadium Abreu would have had either a flyout to RF, or MAYBE a double. Nothing else was hit all that hard in either game.

    Show me a closer you think is better than Mo and I will show you someone who has put up numbers not as good and for less than 1/3 of the time.

    • Jack Marshall - Aug 10, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      You can still be the best and not be as good as you used to be, and that’s where Rivera is inevitably headed. Whether he’s there or not, the possibility of real decline is newsworthy, and you know, eventually, someday, the posts will be right.

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