With a lead going into the 9th inning today, Mariano Rivera will get an opportunity to become the all-time Saves leader with # 602. While many of us have our issues with the Save as a stat (doesn’t factor in leverage, 9 out and 1 out Saves counted equally) its undeniable that recording 600+ in the category is an impressive mark. It speaks to his longevity and effectiveness, which is a major part of Mo’s legacy. Some have quibbled that the record puts him on too close of a footing with Trevor Hoffman, and that Mariano is the far superior pitcher. That may well be true, but I see no need to knock Hoffman in order to praise Mariano. Much of this Hoffman-bashing is justified by a few failings he had in ‘big spots’ (1998 WS, All Star Game, 08 Play in Game) Personally, I think judging an 18 year career by a few missteps is to fundamentally not understand or appreciate the game. If you respect the game, and how hard it is to do what both have made seem so effortless, then there’s no need to downgrade Hoffman. They’re both 1st ballot HOFers, and while advanced stats illustrate the difference between the two pitchers, its a tremendous achievement in both instances. We should take this occasion to fully celebrate one of the best pitchers in the history of the game without any distancing or caveats. It’s always difficult to say ‘never’ but I believe we will never see another Mariano in our lifetime.
Enough of me babbling. Here’s your lineups, courtesy of Chad over at LoHud:
Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Robinson Cano DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 1B
Russell Martin C
Chris Dickerson LF
Ramiro Pena SS
Ouch. Now there’s a September lineup if I ever saw one. Freddy Garcia on the bump for the boys in pinstripes, facing the hard throwing Brandon Morrow for the Jays. GO YANKS!!!!!!!
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