Marian-No Saves?

My buddy and ex-colleague Rich Eisen of NFL Network asks a fascinating question. Apart from his meltdowns against Minnesota and Boston this week, Mariano Rivera has another startling skein in progress.

He’s gone nineteen days without a save.
Is that his personal record, at least since John Wetteland left and he inherited the closer’s role (so long ago that I was still working at ESPN)? My memory jumped to the last time we heard the “Mo’s Done” refrain, a terrible skid early in 2005. Retrosheet confirms he saved only one game between April 13 and May 9, and had none over the last seventeen days of that stretch.
I have not examiner Rivera’s full career but there’s an even longer skid, and it completely escaped my recall. Mo staggered out of the gate in 2007, not recording a save in his first eight appearances, the 26 days between the opener on April 2, and his first save on the 28th. The Yankees opened the season 8-13 and at that point Rivera had… none. That’ll be tough to beat.
The Necessity of Rivera underscores the Yankees’ critical problem. The age-to-depth ratio is not strong, and it is causing the team to sag. Posada, Granderson, Johnson, Swisher, Mo himself, to say nothing of the middle relievers or Javier Vazquez. Are you thinking Joba Chamberlain to close right now, if there’s another injury problem for 42?


  1. jeterandiborn62674

    But Mariano RivERA looks good: 1.46 ERA. Mo tends to go through one rough stretch per season before becoming un-hittable again, but I worry that he is more injured than he or the organization is letting on. I thought maybe Heath Bell would be available if somehow Mo proved to be mortal at last here in 2010 (age 40, with many six even nine out appearances since 1996 and 88 postseason appearances, a franchise on his shoulders), but not the way the Padres are winning. It’s a long season though. I don’t see the Rays staying this hot (Soriano will probably get hurt and the Rays’ bullpen will fall apart). I just hope Mo doesn’t step on a bat– weirdest injury since Milton Bradley got hurt being restrained by the first base coach.


    I’m marking this day, Keith! Only your influence could cause me to want to rent Ken Burns’ ?Baseball? documentary. I found it at our local, independently-run video store (I’m reasonably certain Blockbuster wouldn’t carry it). I haven’t seen it since its original airing in 1994. At that time, a 9-hour documentary was a sizeable time commitment for me, and I know I missed chunks of it. It’ll be like watching it for the first time. So, this weekend, off goes the phone, off goes the iPod, off goes the computer . . . and it’s just me, a pillow-size bag of Nacho Doritos, and 9 hours of baseball. If I start spouting baseball statistics, it’ll be your fault! πŸ˜€
    BTW, your stylish array of lavender-to-lilac-to-purple ties with a dark suit on Countdown has been right on the money. Ditto the striped shirt. Absolutely beautimous. Now, if only you could start a trend to bring cufflinks back into vogue, this would be one happy California girl. πŸ™‚

  3. historymike

    This kind of debate over Rivera always reminds me of the sign guy with the early Mets. We tend to forget Mets fans were the first to bring signs to the park in large numbers, and one guy was famous for having a sign for any occasion. One day, when the Mets’ then-teenaged 1B made a bad play of some kind, he held up a sign asking, “Is Ed Kranepool over the hill?”

    This is not to say the day won’t come for Rivera. But I’ve always marveled at how nobody seems surprised when a hitter has a slump, but people seem shocked when pitchers and fielders have slumps. They do happen.


    Holy crap, Keith! I just realized there’s two discs per box in the Ken Burns ?Baseball? documentary. So, that means . . . 18 hours of baseball!?! Well, I just turned 50, and apparently the memory is the first to go, because I don’t recall it being 18 hours long the first time. Um . . . I’m gonna need more than one bag of Nacho Doritos and a whole lotta something to wash ’em down with. Help, Mr. Wizard! πŸ˜€


    @ashoein You just turned 50? Happy Birthday! I’ll be 51 next week. Keith’s age. πŸ™‚ He makes it look good, doesn’t he? Hey Keith – I hope you’re enjoying the games!

  6. mrlyngreen

    Looks like a convention of 50ish people on this blog. I will be 51 in October.

    As for the topic at hand, I am not a Yankees fan so I cannot comment on Rivera specifically. At his age, (40?) it’s possible that he is just winding down and the lack of saves is the first indication. Conversely, the problem may not be age but a very prolonged slump, which just happens in baseball. With 162 games a year, no one can be expected to be spot on all the time. Nineteen days seems like a long time and I have no statistics at my immediate disposal (and you would know better than I if nineteen days is atypical for relief pitchers). If Rivera is injury prone, then I can appreciate that there is cause for concern.

    Ashoein, have fun watching “Baseball” I dug out my set and I am rewatching, since it has been a considerable time since I watched it last.

    I will not make any wardrobe comments due to the possibility of my having caused offense after my mortician remark in a previous post. I hope I did not but I am not pressing my luck. I have the utmost admiration for you Keith but sometimes the lack of a buffer between what enters my head and what comes out of my mouth gets me into trouble :>)

  7. mantlewasarockstar

    Three words: Mo is human. And Joba needs to step it up if he’s to become no.42’s heir apparent.
    Having said that, I’m not worried. Even at age 40, Mo is still the king. He’s been doing it for 15 years with one pitch; there’s still gas in that tank, my friends.


    @entireofitself: Keith does look great. πŸ™‚ And thank you – ?D? day was on May 15. The anticipation of turning 50 was worse than the actual event. Still, I’m glad I’m over that hump! Now, if I could just remember where I put those doggone car keys . . .
    @mrlyngreen: I’m really enjoying ?Baseball.? Even for someone like me, who is not an avid baseball fan, it’s definitely worth a second, more complete viewing. I have a much deeper appreciation for history now than I did 16 years ago. Different priorities. It’s been kinda fun guessing who all of the voice contributors are. A few have been easy to pick out; others, I haven’t a clue. I’m also enjoying the evolution of the baseball uniforms. πŸ™‚
    Wish I could say ?night all,? but it’s after midnight here in SoCal, and I’m wide awake. So, it’s back to ?Baseball? for me . . .

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