Mariano Rivera Injury: How Yankees Will Survive Without Elite Closer

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2012

The New York Yankees lost Mariano Rivera last night for the season and possibly forever, but they still have the talent to get by without him. 

Rivera was as close to a sure thing as you could get, and with him gone, the Yankees' bats will have to start dominating. 

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweeted the news of Rivera's injury.

Mariano Rivera with torn ACL.

— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 4, 2012

Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com followed that tweet up with some speculation about Rivera's future.

Mariano Rivera has a torn ACL, per @JeffPassan. Rivera hinted at retirement during spring training . . . Yankees fans must fear the worst.

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) May 4, 2012

At the age 42, it wouldn't be a surprise if Rivera called it a career, especially since rehabbing a torn ACL takes a long time. 

This significantly hinders the Yankees bullpen, as Rivera was such a dominant closer. He's had some ups and downs recently, but when the pressure is on, the majority of the time you could count on Rivera to get the job done and preserve the win for New York. 

Still, the Yankees are still capable of rising up and taking control of the AL East. Currently, New York is four and a half games out of first place in the division, but that's not too much of a worry considering there is a ton of baseball left to be played. 

The offense has to come alive for New York now. The Yankees can't put themselves in close situations anymore, so Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and the rest of the lineup have to start swinging the bats better. 

Some of the Yankees have been doing very well behind the plate this year, and that trend must continue. Getting on base is great, but bringing the runner home is crucial. If New York can't do that, it's toast. 

The Yankees run differential right now is +6, which is something that needs to increase. They have to execute well with runners in scoring position. 

David Robertson is likely the one to replace Rivera on the year. He has a total of three career saves, so it would be wise for the Yankees to make sure they give him adequate run support should he ever have to step in and save a game. 

At some point he will have to step up and close out a game for New York, and all the Yankees can do then is hold their breath and hope for the best. Robertson isn't a bad pitcher by any means, but with the game on the line, even some of the best pitchers struggle. 

New York can still prosper this season and make the postseason, a place where the Yankees would miss Rivera the most. Still, they have talented enough players to win big this season, despite the fact their top closer is no longer healthy. 

 

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