So every now and then, Mariano Rivera goes through a stretch where he gets roughed up a little. I remember a couple of years ago when he blew two saves against the Red Sox to start off the season and people started questioning whether he was done for good that year. Well that year he bounced back with 43 saves and a 1.38 ERA. This year, after allowing only 1 earned run in his first 26 innings pitched, he has now allowed two 9th inning homeruns – both of the games which were tied when he came in.
This is the first time since August of 2003, that Mo allowed two HRs in a span of 3 or less appearances. The last time it happened against the Orioles when he allowed 4 hits and 2 solo HRs while facing 10 batters in the 2 innings of work. This time around, in the two blown games, he faces 8 batters in the 2 games allowing 2 solo shots again and those were the only two hits he allowed. However, today was the first time in the 4 games that it ended up costing the Yankees the game. The previous 3 times, the destructive Yankees offense came through to bail him out.
Is this something to worry about for the Yankees? They have moved Joba out of the bullpen because they figured Mariano can still last them another couple of years… but is he losing his edge? Where will the Yankees turn to if they need someone as a closer now? Everytime it seems that the Yankees are finally ready to turn the corner and move away from being just a .500 team, they fall back and fail to capitalize on the momentum.
Here is a good stat to know about this Yankee team this year: Through 66 games this season, the Yankees have been either at .500, or plus or minus 1 game of .500 for 50 of those days.
Days at .500: 22
Days at one game under .500: 17
Days at one game over .500: 11
Maybe it’s just me but it could be that the Yankees are just that… a middle of the road .500 team.