On Saturday night, Jesus was the story. On Sunday morning, let’s look at Mariano.
The August 13 game in 2007 against the Orioles was, on its surface, nothing remarkable. The Yankees beat the Orioles 7-6 on a walk-off fielder’s choice in the bottom of the 9th. Earlier in the game, neither Jeremy Guthrie nor Chien-Ming Wang had their best stuff, and the game was left to the bullpens.
What is remarkable about the game, though, was the top of the 9th. In that inning, Mariano Rivera allowed three hits and a run as the Orioles overcame a one-run deficit to tie the game. It would be Mariano Rivera’s only blown save at Yankee Stadium that season, and in fact, it was his last blown save at Yankee Stadium. It is also his only blown save at home since August 13, 2005 when he let one go against the Rangers in a game the Yanks would win in 11 innings.
Think about that for a second. Mariano Rivera has blown just one save at home since August 13, 2005. That’s a remarkable achievement. Nearly four years at home, one blown save.
Since his disastrous appearance while sick against Tampa in a non-save situation in June, Mariano has been as good as any pitcher could be. He has saved 13 games since then, throwing 15.2 innings and allowing five hits, one run and one walk while striking out 16. That’s a 0.57 ERA.
One day, Mo will blow a save. One day, Mo will lose a game. One day, Mo may even decide to call it a career. Right now, though, he’s showing no signs of slowing down, and he’s still the guy anyone wants out there in the ninth inning of a close game. That, my friends, is Mariano Rivera.