Mariano Rivera Injury: What This Means for the Boston Red Sox in AL East Race

Brian RoachCorrespondent IMay 4, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 23:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees throws against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 23, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Mariano Rivera is the anchor for the entire New York Yankees roster and now he is out for the entire year due to a torn ACL, according to ESPN.

The injury came while shagging fly balls in the outfield before a game at Kansas City. It is a devastating loss for the Yankees bullpen, but does that open it up for other AL East teams or will the other bullpen members be able to get it done?

The best option for the Yankees would be to place David Robertson into the closer's role starting Friday night against the Kansas City Royals. He has pitched a total of 11 innings with 18 strikeouts and has yet to allow a run in 2012.

Without a bona fide and proven closer, the Boston Red Sox need to take advantage of the close games between the Yanks when they face them in their next 16 meetings, starting with a series at Fenway in early July.

It may be tough for Sox fans to see him go, especially since they have seen him on numerous occasions and have had the most comebacks against him in late-inning situations. The Red Sox need to show that they can battle back all season long and claw their way back to .500 before they really get going in the AL East race.

The Tampa Bay Rays now hold the reins of their own destiny and can really put their hand on the throttle when they play the Yankees next week.