It’s Time For Yankees Fans’ Annual Mariano Rivera Panic Attack

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The Yankees won on Thursday. So what’s the hubbub?

A ninth inning, first-pitch, three-run homer off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, that’s what.

For the third straight game, Mr. Automatic faltered — and it has some Bronx faithful on edge.

“It happens. It always happens,” Rivera said. “We always have this conversation. (It’s been) sixteen, seventeen years.”

Russell Branyan’s long ball was not enough to wipe out the lead, though, and the Yankees beat the Angels 6-5, giving Rivera his 30th save for the 14th season.

“This was a game that had to leave a ripe residue of concern, if not outright worry, no matter if anybody will admit it,” wrote Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News. “For the third straight time, (Mariano) came in and looked eminently hittable, even fragile.”

A headline on the New York Times’ website read: “The Struggles of Rivera Cast a Pall Over a Win.”

But not everyone is buying into the Mariano doomsday scenario.

“Eventually, Rivera will cease to be an above-average closer,” wrote Newsday’s Ken Davidoff. “However, are you willing to bet that juncture is upon us just because Rivera has logged three straight subpar outings?”

After earning 29 saves this season with relative ease in his 15th year of shutting down teams with a buzz-saw cut fastball, Rivera gave up a run in a third straight appearance for the first time since last September against Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Boston.

“As much as we want to think that he’s about as close to the perfect closer as we have seen, he’s not perfect,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The blip began on Sunday in Boston, when he blew his fourth save opportunity this season. On Tuesday, he gave up a two-run drive to Bobby Abreu in a tie game, his first homer allowed at Yankee Stadium this season.

“The saves and the stuff is OK but it won’t make me or break me,” Rivera said. “Games like this get me upset because I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

There’s nothing wrong, Rivera said. He’s just missing with one pitch.

“It’s not that I’ve been missing and missing and missing and missing,” he said. “Just one pitch, you get on one of those streaks. It happens.”

Is there real concern for Mo, or is he just going through a routine slump? Be heard in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


One Comment

  1. Ellen says:

    Don’t panic because it’s still early in the game. Look at the Red Sox and how far they came from last April. Anything can happen so keep the faith and enjoy the game.

  2. Bill Cleveland says:

    The best way to evaluate Mo is to watch the batters when he gets outs. I am a New York guy and Yankee fan transplant to Chicago. Yanks-Sox played 4 games at Sox Park. I watched how the batters fared against Mo. It was the same old thing we have seen for years. They were off-balance, missed badly against both strikes and balls, and watched called third strikes just nicking the corners.

  3. brotherd says:

    Mariano has a 3-4 game streak like this every year. Most closers have 2 of them. If there are 2 more such streaks this year, then there is cause for concern. Otherwise, he’s still the best in the business.

  4. dabooch says:

    There are never any guarantees in life. Considering baseball is so mystical as to what can happen there were never any guarantees even when Mo was in his prime.

Comments are closed.

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