Mariano Rivera has blown three straight save opportunities, but the Yankees won their weekend matchup anyway.
The Weekend Takeaway
As former Yankees beat writer Pete Abraham pointed out on Twitter yesterday afternoon, sometimes a series of hiccups can remind us of a player’s greatness. Fortunately for the team Abraham covered before moving to the Boston Globe, Mariano Rivera’s hiccups this weekend merely delayed victories instead of costing them games.
Despite flubbing a save opportunity on August 7 in a one-run contest that the Yankees ultimately dropped to the White Sox, Rivera sported a 1.70 ERA, remarkable for a 43-year-old pitcher in his 18th big-league season. That hiccup was his third blown chance of the year, and heading into Friday’s opener against the Tigers, he still had permitted only two home runs in 42 1/3 innings of work.
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Scouts' takes on Travis d'Arnaud, Chris Johnson, Mariano Rivera, Ian Kennedy, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
Can the best reliever ever hold a candle to history's strongest starters?
Recently, Mariano Rivera revealed that 2013 would be his final season. It wasn’t unexpected news, in that Rivera is 43 years old and coming off a serious injury that caused him to consider retirement in 2012. But the report, however predictable, hit many fans hard. Not only is Rivera respected and beloved both inside and outside of New York (a relative rarity for a big, bad Yankee), but he’s shown so little erosion in his skills that it’s possible to picture him throwing his cutter until he turns 50. Most players go through a decline phase, which gives us time to get used to the idea that it’s about to be over. Rivera really hasn’t, except in the sense that he’s less durable than he once was.
Rivera’s announcement inspired many written responses, one of which was an email to me from a reader named David Greene. “Rivera’s true ranking among pitchers all-time,” the subject line said.
Ben and Sam answer listener emails about the worst team to work for, what baseball would look like without outfield fences, when it's okay to give up on high draft picks, and how Mariano Rivera compares to top starting pitchers.
Degree of greatness doesn't always correlate to the ability to say farewell.
This past week brought news that the greatest relief pitcher in baseball history has decided to retire following the season. Mariano Rivera broke into the major leagues with the Yankees in 1995. That season he appeared in 19 games for New York, starting 10, with an ERA of 5.51. That was the last season in his 18-year career that he started games and, other than 2007, the last in which he posted an ERA over the 3.00. He may not be a first ballot Hall of Famer, but if not it’ll be due to ridiculousness on the part of the voters.
While Rivera prepares for his graceful swan song, a coda to a certain Hall of Fame career, another all-time great is preparing for a very different postscript. This past weekend CBS’s Jon Heyman reported that Manny Ramirez signed a contract to play with the Rhinos. That would be the EDA Rhinos of Taiwan. The Rhinos play in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, which, I have been informed through a very special source COUGHwikipediaCOUGH, contains four teams. Including the Rhinos.
Health can play a big part in which teams win and which go home. In the AL East and AL Central, lost WARP can help explain the standings.
Driven by deep data sets, sophisticated technology, and collaboration between skilled statistical and scouting staffs, major-league teams have become increasingly adept at projecting player performance. In some respects, assembling a roster is the easy part of building a winning team. The hard part is making sure that roster remains intact. Speaking at Internet Week in New York earlier this year, Athletics General Manager Billy Beane stressed the importance of predicting and preventing injuries: