Rivera’s history of back-to-back blown saves

Fan Confidence Poll: April 25th, 2011
The RAB Radio Show: April 25, 2011

It’s not often that Mariano Rivera blows a save, let alone back-to-back saves, which made yesterday’s ninth inning meltdown that much harder to swallow. Andy at the B-R Blog lists all of Mo’s back-to-back blown saves, something he’s done just eight times in his 14+ years as closer. Exactly half of those eight sets have come in April while the rest occurred in July and August (twice each). He also blew back-to-back saves twice in 1997, so it’s happened just six times in the last 13+ years.

Although it doesn’t appear to be random, I don’t think there’s nearly enough evidence here to say that Mo struggles in particular months for whatever reason. Is it worth nothing that there’s essentially no difference between Rivera’s ERA and FIP in March/April (2.26 ERA and 2.84, respectively) than there is during the rest of the season (2.22 ERA, 2.75 FIP). What do you think, coincidence, or something more?

Fan Confidence Poll: April 25th, 2011
The RAB Radio Show: April 25, 2011
  • http://www.twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

    Don’t care about the blown saves as much as our manager using a 41 year old closer for a 4 out save in mid-April.

    And anyway, Rivera’s control was off in the beginning, you could tell it wasn’t going to end well. Add an inconsistent strike zone and well… that’s what happens.

    • Jim S

      Kinda my thinking too. Not that Logan had been blowing the doors of of anyone this year, but if you have a LOOGY, don’t you use him against Scott in that situation?

    • steve (different one)

      Wow, FOUR whole outs after 4 days off? That’s a fireable offense right there. It did take 2 extra pitches to get that extra out, too.

      • Jim S

        It wasn’t the # of pitches so much as warming up, throwing 2 pitches, sitting for 10 minutes, then getting up again. He’s not young anymore.

  • bonestock94

    He seems to have the occasional streak of iffy appearances. It doesn’t necessarily result in a BS, but you can tell something is off when the result of his pitches are anything but swinging or looking strikes, foul balls, bloops or pop ups. When Gardner caught that ball you just knew the 9th inning was gonna be ugly.

  • bwayblueshirts

    Im nervous hes injured…just didnt look right out there

  • Dave

    You can always tell how Mo is going to do in 1 or 2 pitches. If he hits his spots, which he almost always does, game over. If he misses, its going to be rocky. The WP in the first blown save made it painfully clear where that was going. It happens a couple of times a year, takes him a few tough outings to get over, then he gets it back and is Mo again. If it lasts much more than a week I’ll start to get nervous — but Mo won’t, which is what really matters.

    • Mike HC

      Not saying that you can’t tell if a guy just doesn’t have it that day, but I have seen Mo struggle for a batter or two, then get a double play ball and strikeout, and it is Mo as usual. Or AJ breezes through 3, then implodes. You just can’t tell sometimes.

  • Chris

    I don’t think ERA and FIP for the month will necessarily show anything. He’s clearly hit a rough patch the last two outings and his ERA and FIP for the month are at 2.53 and 1.92.

  • Jonathan

    I’m guessing a lot of it is caused by minor injuries. We know Mo is tough and will pitch through things without us even knowing about it and still look amazing. He’s been fighting his sides for several years now and Mo lives off location and command. Control is the direct response of consistently repeating your delivery. And when you’re fighting a shoulder/side/groin/hammy etc your delivery will be off ever so slightly. In the end, as long as Mo isn’t severely injured, I have all the faith in the world in him. I wish we had some badass bullpen and some $35MM set up guy to help take some of the load off…oh wait….

    • MannyGeee

      I’m guessing a lot of it is caused by minor injuries

      OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!! its an oblique! the Oblique Fairy strikes again!!!!!

      • Jonathan

        I don’t know how to respond because I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

          The crazy oblique injury fest of ’11.

          • Jonathan

            ah yes… it reminds me of a few years ago when like 6 guys were on the DL with hamstring issues. Matsui/Wang/Moose are the ones I remember off the top of my head. We fired the strength and conditioning coach over it.

  • nsalem

    not hard to swallow at all.

    • Johnny On The Spot

      That’s what she said.

  • Jorge

    He simply realized he takes the spotlight from Jesus enough and decided that, on Easter, to not hog the spotlight.

    It happens. We should be lucky we’ve even been able to witness this man’s amazing career.

  • Frank

    I ordinarily don’t complain about umps and their strike zones, but I have to say yesterday’s HP ump made a huge difference for Mo. In my opinion, Jones was struck out on the 3-2 pitch on the inside corner. The same pitch, but even more indside, was called strike 3 to ring up Reynolds, the next batter. What bothered me about the ump was not so much his zone, but the fact he was so inconsistant the entire game.

  • Mister Delaware

    Pretty sure I’ve figured this one out (well, Mike did in a prior post but didn’t realize it). When these blown saves happen, everyone screams “but Mariano’s never been XX years old before”. Exactly. His birthday is in late November, after all postseason games have been completed. For the first month of the season, he’s still getting used to pitching as an XX year old. Once he settles into his new age, he’s back to Mariano as usual. Step off the ledge, close the window, everything is fine now.

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewLeighNYC Andrew

    I would be more worried if his stuff seemed to have changed/dipped, but that did not seem to be the case at all, in either Toronto or Baltimore. Just location seemed to be his problem. May have something to do with all the time off. To be glass-half-full to those bemoaning the 4-out save attempt (and rightly so, since it is pretty pointless/premature in April), maybe throwing 30+ pitches is just what Mariano needed to get his feel for the ball back and get himself back to putting the cutter wherever he wants it? I expect a more uneventful outing, in a good way, the next time 42 is out there.

    • Ted Nelson

      People bemoan everything that goes wrong… They bemoan that the Yankees only use Mo in the 9th, but then if they dare let him throw 2 pitches in the 8th they bemoan that. They’ll bemoan a quick yank of the starter, but if the starter stays in and gets crushed they’re pissed he was left in there too long. It’s pretty amusing really.

  • pat

    Any idea why Brooks doesn’t have the pitch f/x from yesterday?

    • Rick in Boston

      No clue. I really want to see if Mo was getting squeezed or not.

    • Klemy

      Mo removed it, to ensure the umpire took no blame for the outing. He sacrificed himself for the umpire’s sins.

  • Yank the Frank

    There is still no one I’d rather have on the mound to close out a game.

    Let us pray.

  • http://twitter.com/steveh_MandAura Steve H

    3 in a row and I might start to think he’s human.

  • southeryankeefan

    Only possible logical explanation to me is that not only is he the almighty one, he is also the Easter bunny. Therefore he was tired from bringing joy to children by filling their Easter baskets with candy all night.

  • Big Apple

    you know you take someone for granted when you vividly remember the small amount of failures and forget about the tons of times he’s taken care of business.

    I’ll miss you when you’re gone, Mo!

  • Klemy

    This doesn’t worry me. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • Hall and Nokes

    Bigger concern to me is that the only lefty in the pen can’t be trusted to get out lefties.

  • virginia yankee

    Mo is 40 plus. We love him – revere him as a Yankee, player, and good man. Past performance is meaningless when age has stolen ability. The cutter is flat with less lateral movement. He is throwing too many pitches per hitter and inning to record an out. POOR hitters are keeping at bats going and too often getting good wood to the ball. Mo is not done, his command and location are terrific, he needs another pitch. A nice fat looking CHANGE or a SPLIT – no change in motion, no added wear; just something to get a swing and miss and change the batter’s eye level.

    • JPB

      Whenever people write stuff like this vy, some weisenheimer comes along with stats “proving” that he’s as good as ever.

      It is hard to believe that someone can be 40 and be as good as he was when he was 27. Nobody can argue that velocity is down…he was 93-95 in his heyday, and now is high 80s or 91 max.

      So it would stand to reason that his movement probably ain’t what it used to be, either.

      But I don’t know. I know for years it was just cutter after cutter and almost never any other pitches, but in the last 5-6 years he’s mixed in different fastballs, some that sink a little, etc.

      I didn’t live up here and didn’t see him pitch as often in his heyday as I do now, but my memory of him in the 1997-2002 years was that he would go dozens and dozens of batters without anyone hitting anything other than a squib ground ball or flare. It was almost unheard of for someone to even hit a 320 foot fly ball. In fact, I remember in the 2001 WS, Mark Grace hitting, and Tim McCarver was saying that the Yankee right fielder was playing too deep, and that, off Rivera, Grace would have to “hit the ball twice” for it to reach where the RF was playing.

      So does he give up more solidly hit balls today than he did then? Does anyone know? Am I just remembering selective things, or has he become somewhat more hittable?

  • fire levine

    He is simply punishing us for our sins.