Yes, Mariano Rivera blew three saves in a row for the first time ever. Yes, he gave up two home runs in an inning for the first time ever. Yes, he’s on the front end of Generation X, and yes, he’s in his retirement season. But he also has 35 saves this season, as of the second weekend in August, for a .500 team. He also had this weekend’s save opportunities ruined by a guy, Miguel Cabrera, who might go down as one of the top five right-handed hitters in history. And Yankee Stadium is a home-run-friendly park.
Mariano Rivera is definitely showing signs of humanity, and once in a while showing signs of age. But let’s not hit the panic button just yet. He’s still one of the top 10 closers in baseball, if not top five, and he’s still the greatest closer of all time. If I’m the greatest closer of all time, and I’m going to have someone outdo me in historic fashion, I’d much rather it be a Triple Crown winner than just about anyone else. The heart of the Tigers’ lineup is one of the most fearsome we’ve seen in years, and Victor Martinez — who hit the game-tyer off of Rivera after Miggy’s second blast in two days — is no slouch, either.
Most of the teams in baseball would love to have Mariano Rivera — this year’s Mariano Rivera, 43 years and all — closing for them. Count your blessings, Yankee fans, and take a deep breath. He’ll be one of the keys to any chance the Yankees have of climbing back into the wild-card race.