Today, Mike Francesa of WFAN has spent hours whining and bemoaning the fall of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera today. He is learning how to come to grips with the fact that Mariano Rivera has hit the wall and is no longer the most dominant closer in baseball.
In 11.1 innings, Rivera has allowed 15 hits (4 of them homers), an un-Rivera like 3.97 ERA, and hitters are batting .306 against him. He has not allowed more than 4 homeruns in an entire season since he allowed 5 ten years ago, and it’s only 30 games in.
In stark contrast, Francisco Rodriguez who is fresh off a season where he set the all time single season saves mark, has been everything the Mets have hoped for and more.
Rodriguez is smart and knows how to save himself by relying on three plus pitches which he throws with excellent command. He is resilient and can sustain a workload that would crush many closers and make them ineffective.
He currently has a 1.32 ERA and is nine for nine in save opportunities. More remarkable than that is that he is holding the opposition to a .143 batting average.
Even Rich Couthino of 1050 ESPN admitted as much today when he wrote,
With all due respect to Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriquez has replaced him as the sport’s best closer. He has the talent to possess three great pitches that can help him wiggle out of every jam but K-Rod has more than that–a burning desire to win and get another ring.
It’s time for Mariano Rivera to gracefully step aside and make room for a new number one. He had a great run, but K-Rod is the best closer in this city now if not the whole of baseball.