“It’s a blessing to me to play here for so many years,” Rivera told reporters outside the Yankees’ dugout before the game. “To come here to play against the Red Sox at Fenway, it’s always a great game. But it’s never easy.”
Including playoffs, Rivera was 15-7 with 64 saves and a 2.59 ERA in 127 games against Boston in his 19-year career, starting with two innings of scoreless relief on Sept. 10, 1995. For him to face the Red Sox again _ either at Yankee Stadium or at Fenway _ both teams would have to make the playoffs.
“Hopefully it’s not the last time,” Rivera said before the game, when the Yankees were 11 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East and 2 1/2 games out in the wild-card race. “We’re fighting for something. We want to get to the playoffs. I don’t have any thinking about myself.”
The 43-year-old Rivera has said he will retire after this season, his 19th in the major leagues, all of them with the Yankees. He has 651 career saves _ tops in baseball history _ with a 2.22 ERA and even the rival Red Sox called him the greatest closer in baseball history.
“What he’s done is remarkable,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before the game. “He’s a role model and I mean that in the greatest sense I can say it. Everyone should look up to his life.”
Follow Jimmy Golen on Twitter at: Http://www.twitter.com/jgolen.