While watching Huston Street fall apart in the ninth inning of the Rockies-Phillies game, it got me thinking about what an awful postseason this has so far been for some of the top closers in the game.
Street saved 35 games this year and had a 0.91 WHIP. He then got knocked around badly and failed to hold a two-run lead in Game 4 as his team’s season got washed away tonight at Coors Field.
Ryan Franklin? He struggled (albeit with some help from Matt Holiday). Joe Nathan? Downright awful. Brad Lidge didn’t blow a game for the Phillies but his back-up/replacement, Ryan Madson, nearly did. And of course no one had a bigger meltdown than Jonathan Papelbon, who had the Red Sox one strike away from extending their series numerous times before ultimately giving it up.
All of this is just a long way of saying that Mariano Rivera is pretty fantastic. And that, especially this year, his presence is going to be absolutely critical. That sheared bat he engineered against Joe Mauer in the eighth inning last night is just the beginning of a stretch where he’ll continue to face the opposing team’s best hitters with everything on the line. And there isn’t a game situation that makes the Yankees feel any more comfortable.
“It was a great feeling as a catcher when he came in, and it’s a great feeling as a manager when you have him doing this,” Joe Girardi said. “You feel really good about when you put him in the game, that you are going to win that game, and that he is going to shut down the other clubs. We all know there is no one perfect, but Mo is really, really good.”