- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
Rivera, Yankees not worried at his recent slips
Question of the Day
NEW YORK (AP) - So this is what the ninth inning must be like sometimes for the other 29 teams that do not have the luxury of calling on Mariano Rivera.
The career saves leader has spoiled the New York Yankees, rarely slipping up in 17 years as their closer.
But last week, the 43-year-old baseball sage stunned a generation of fans by blowing three consecutive save opportunities for the first time in 721 chances. Since Rivera took over as New York’s closer in 1997, there have been 29 other occasions when a pitcher went through such a stretch, according to STATS.
Rivera said Monday the problems have nothing to do with fatigue or age. Instead, he said, it’s his delivery.
Rivera said he’s not repeating his release point and has left pitches up to some pretty good hitters.
“There’s a lot left in the tank,” he assured.
Plus, Rivera can draw upon a lot of previous success. Blown saves aren’t part of his repertoire, especially not three in a row.
“At least it’s the first time,” Rivera said Sunday after Detroit dented him. “I just try to go out there and do my job. … The last three opportunities, I haven’t done it. So we have to continue battling and get better. Have to keep working and eventually it will happen.”
It always has.
And that is why his teammates _ and Yankees fans _ are hardly worried.
“When he needs to nail it down, he nails it down,” Yankees setup man David Robertson said before Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels. “He’s not perfect, everyone knows that. But the guy’s pretty unbelievable.”
How impressive? Consider there have been 175 pitchers who have recorded at least 20 saves in a season since Rivera became the Yankees closer, according to STATS. The Yankees have had only one other stopper reach that mark: Rafael Soriano, who filled in when Rivera tore up his knee in May 2012 and missed the rest of the year.
“I don’t know if we’ve had anybody on the mound _ I don’t think there is any relief pitcher that has been on the mound that’s even close to what he’s done … with the longevity, the consistency and ability to perform as Mariano has,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
The five-time World Series champion announced during spring training his intention to make this season his final one. And Rivera has made a smooth return after being injured for most of last year, soaking up his final moments in ballparks around the country.
At most every stop, opposing players and fans have reached out to be around him, to hear his every word. He was the MVP at the All-Star game, with AL teammates-for-a-day eager to soak up his wisdom.
By Robert N. Tracci
Congress must use its appropriations power to secure the border
- Violent gang MS-13 taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- A 'new Cold War': China's top paper warns of 'slippery slope' towards conflict with U.S.
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- DOJ investigates Norfolk parade float critical of Obama
- 'Be a leader' Perry tells Obama to confront border crisis
- Eric Holder on Palin: 'She wasn't a particularly good vice presidential candidate'
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- NASCAR TV contract back to NBC in 2015, leaving ESPN, Turner Sports
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs