Many would believe that the title of this post implies that I am going to discuss the problems Yankees’ pitcher Randy Johnson has had this season. However, those are well documented and I will not discuss that at this time. I am going to discuss the disappearance of dominance by Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera and whether he is losing something or it is the cause the the way manager Joe Torre is being used.
Mariano Rivera is considered by many to be the greatest closer of all time and and has been the Yankees’ most valuble player throughout their run of four championships and playoff appearances. This year, however, Rivera is not pitching like the Rivera of old. I do not believe he is "done" as people like to say. He is simply being used in the wrong way. In save situations this season Rivera’s ERA is 1.80 and is throwing 68.5% of his pitches for strikes. In non-save situations Rivera’s ERA is 5.80 and is throwing 60.1% of his pitches for strikes. Rivera is still pitching like Rivera in save situations, but in non-save situations he has struggled.
Who is to blame for the struggles of Mariano Rivera? I may be taking a bold stance to other Yankee fans, but the person to blame for this is Joe Torre. Sure he was considered great in the Yankee dynasty, but that’s over and so is his greatness. He was overrated during the dynasty to begin with, with veterans such as Bernie Willams, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, David Cone, Roger Clemens, and Joe Girardi all Torre had to do was sit back, manage the media attention, and let his veterans play. Now, Joe Torre actually has to manage and he is proving he is awful at managing his bullpen. Leaving Kyle Farnsworth in for two innings after he has dominated the previous inning is not the worst thing. Farnsworth has closing experience and can handle the role, so why is Torre so quick to pull him out of the game? Or, when your starter has pitched eight strong innings, throwing 85 or less pitches, leaving him to finish the game gives him and the starting rotation confidence. If the pitcher gives up a baserunner, by all means, bring in Rivera, but bringing him in when he is not needed is a waste of his talent. The media says he needs the work because the Yankees are not playing in many close games, but then the media will say in the playoffs he is tired from being overworked in the regular season. So what is it? Does he need work to only be overworked?
The disappearance of dominance of Joe Torre, if there was any dominance to begin with.