Mariano Rivera: Not the Greatest Closer of All Time Against the Red Sox

Jordan Schwartz@jordanharrisonSenior Writer IAugust 8, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 01: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees talks to Mariano Rivera #42 after the win against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 1, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

People like to call Mariano Rivera the greatest closer of all time despite the fact that he only pitches one inning at a time, unlike those who came before him, such as Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter and Dennis Eckersley, who regularly pitched two or three frames en route to a save.

But few can argue that Mo has been anything other than mediocre against the Red Sox over his career.

On Sunday night, Rivera relinquished a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth at Fenway Park after yielding a double, a sacrifice bunt and a sac fly. The Yankees went on to lose the game, the series and first place.

"It's unusual," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Rivera after the game. "We're so used to seeing him do it, time after time after time."

But is it really that unusual?

This was Rivera's 14th-career regular-season blown save against Boston, by far the most versus any opponent. In 66 save opportunities against the Red Sox, Rivera has given up the lead more than 21 percent of the time.

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He's even less effective in the playoffs against them, converting only six of eight chances.

Not exactly lights out.

But that should be expected. When you face a good-hitting team six or seven times a year and you only throw one pitch, batters are going to catch on.

So let's try not to be so surprised when he does it again.

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Jordan is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. 

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