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Mariano Rivera: Why His Blown Saves Shouldn't Worry the New York Yankees

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Mariano Rivera: Why His Blown Saves Shouldn't Worry the New York Yankees
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport
Mariano Rivera delivers a pitch in the ninth inning of a 5-4 win against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, August 11.

The New York Yankees should not be concerned with the performance of their legendary closer, Mariano Rivera, despite blowing three consecutive saves for the first time in his career.

Rivera blew a save opportunity and allowed a run in the ninth inning of a 6-5 loss. Every pitcher endures a rough patch from time-to-time, even the great Mariano Rivera. He is, after all, human, writes Christopher Gamble of rantsports.com:

In case you didn’t know, Mariano Rivera is human and always has been since he made his MLB debut in 1995 as a starter for the New York Yankees. However, after his third consecutive blown save, the first time he has done that in his career, people are wondering if Rivera is finally hitting that bump in the road.

I believe that Rivera has not yet hit that bump in the road, and will not do so, before his career ends at the end of the 2013 season.

Before his slump started on August 7, Rivera had a 1.56 ERA and had recorded 35 saves in 37 chances, according to ESPN, and was on his way to one of the best seasons of his career. No one was concerned then, and no one should be concerned now.

Sure, he blew three consecutive saves over a span of four days, but what pitcher does not struggle every once in a while?

Rivera’s legacy has put him up on a pedestal and has raised expectations. As much as fans like to think he is perfect, he is not. He blew pivotal games in the 2004 ALCS and the 2001 World Series for the Yankees, but no one ever thought he was finished then.

With his age becoming more of a factor, the 43-year-old has more doubters now than ever. People are losing faith in one of, if not the greatest closer of all-time. I’m waiting for Rivera to make those people eat their words.

Rivera has a history of redemption. Despite blowing games in the 2004 ALCS and 2001 World Series, Rivera still boasts a 0.70 ERA and 42 saves in his postseason career. Rivera was forced to an early exit last season after tearing his ACL shagging fly balls in Kansas City, but has come back strong in 2013.

While he has struggled over the last four days, Rivera’s 2013 season should be defining his greatness, not questioning it.

Despite allowing five runs in his last four innings pitched, Rivera still boasts a sparkling 2.44 ERA for the season. His 35 saves rank second in the American League behind Texas closer Joe Nathan.

Is Mariano Rivera still an elite closer?

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Mariano Rivera has built a stellar reputation throughout his career. People should not say he is done after three bad games, especially considering his terrific year, overall.

Don’t worry Yankee fans—while he is struggling now, Rivera will find a way to redeem himself and ride off into the sunset after the 2013 season.

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