Sunday, September 22, 2013

Exit Sandman - Studious Metsimus-Style

Screen shot courtesy of TBS Sports

Today at Yankee Stadium, Mariano Rivera's career was celebrated by the only team he's ever known.  The celebration included all the pomp and circumstance you'd expect for a player of Rivera's caliber, including a live performance by Metallica, whose "Enter Sandman" let opposing hitters know that Mariano was about to send them off to Never-Never Land.

As you all know, Rivera is the greatest closer in the history of the game.  His 652 regular season saves and 42 postseason saves are the most in major league history.  He also has a 2.21 ERA prior to October baseball and a 0.70 ERA during it.  Only 12 pitchers with 1,000 or more innings pitched have a lower regular season ERA than Rivera and no one has a lower postseason ERA.

To put Rivera's records in perspective, John Franco (276 saves) and Armando Benitez (160 saves) have the two highest career save totals as Mets.  The rest of the top ten (Jesse Orosco, Billy Wagner, Tug McGraw, Roger McDowell, Francisco Rodriguez, Neil Allen, Skip Lockwood, Braden Looper) have a combined 652 saves as Mets - the same number of saves Mariano Rivera had on his own as a Yankee.

Mariano has also registered nine seasons of 40 or more saves.  The Mets have had three - ever.  Furthermore, no Met has recorded more than 43 saves in a single season (Benitez saved 43 games in 2001).  Rivera has surpassed that number in six seasons, including this year at the age of 43.

But Rivera hasn't been infallible, especially against the Mets.

In 34 appearances against the Mets, Mariano Rivera has a 3.53 ERA, his highest against any National League team.  The only team in the majors against whom Rivera has a higher ERA is the Los Angeles Angels (3.75 ERA).  Since 2007, Rivera has allowed more earned runs against the Mets (7) than he has saves (4).  His ERA against the Mets since 2007 is 6.10.  And let's not forget his blown save and loss to the Mets this past May, which remains the only time Rivera has blown a save in his career without recording a single out.

The Mets have also defeated Rivera four times over his storied career.  Meanwhile, the rest of the National League has pinned just five losses on No. 42.  The only teams to beat Rivera more times than the Mets are the Orioles (9 times), Red Sox (7 times) and Rays (6 times) - all of whom play in the same division as the Yankees.  But Baltimore has faced Rivera 134 times, while Boston has seen him in 115 games and Tampa Bay has squared off against him 102 times.  That's far more than the 34 times the Mets have faced the Sandman.

Mariano Rivera has had his troubles against the Mets, but most of the time he's come through with the save.  Even with their success against him over the years, there's no question the Mets will not miss Rivera when the ninth inning comes around in future Subway Series matchups.  After all, they and mostly everyone else in baseball have been shipped off to Never-Never Land far too many times.

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