This afternoon, Major League Baseball made two Mariano Rivera announcements within 20 minutes of one another.
First came the official announcement that Rivera will not be participating in the all-star game. The relief pitcher who was next highest on the players’ ballots was Rays closer Rafael Soriano, who will replace Rivera in Anaheim.
Next came the announcement of Rivera as the Clutch Performer of the Month for June. Thirteen scoreless innings will do that for a guy. Here’s the clutch performer press release, with a pretty good breakdown of Rivera’s finest moments.
Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees was selected by fans in an online vote as the winner of the “Major League Baseball Clutch Performer of the Month Award Presented by Pepsi” for June, it was announced today. The award recognizes the player who performed his best when the game was on the line… During the first week of each month, fans can visit a microsite, pepsiclutch.mlb.com, powered by MLB.com specifically created for the Clutch Performer platform to vote for the nominee they believe was the best Clutch Performer during the previous month.
Rivera went 2-0 with seven saves during the month of June and tossed 13.0 scoreless innings over 11 appearances. The 40-year-old right-hander permitted just four hits with only two walks and recorded 16 strikeouts, his highest total for any month since June 2008 (18). On June 23rd at Arizona, Mariano earned his first victory of the season after tossing 2.0 innings in New York’s 6-5 victory. In the contest, Rivera loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 10th inning with the Yankees leading by one and induced two pop-ups before striking out the final batter to nail down the victory. Just four days later, the Panama City native picked up his second victory in another extra-inning affair at Los Angeles. Rivera once again tossed 2.0 scoreless innings and collected three strikeouts as the Yankees defeated Joe Torre’s Dodgers 8-6 in 10 innings.
The two 2.0-inning outings marked the first time that Mariano tossed at least 2.0 innings twice in a five-day span since July 6, 2008 vs. Boston and July 9, 2008 vs. Tampa Bay, when he also recorded the win in both games. Prior to Stephen Drew’s leadoff single in the 10th inning on June 23rd, Rivera had retired a career-best 24 consecutive batters dating back to June 3rd vs. Baltimore. Rivera, who was named to his 11th career All-Star Game earlier this week, now has 545 career saves, the most ever in A.L. history and second-most all-time behind Trevor Hoffman (596) of the Milwaukee Brewers. Rivera is 2-1 with a 1.08 ERA in 33.1 innings this season. Rivera’s lowest ERA for a season in his 16-year career came in 2005 when he registered a 1.38 ERA.