Mariano Rivera’s 600th career save, only the second pitcher in MLB history to reach that impressive milestone, should have ended with a strikeout. Instead, it was Ichiro caught stealing, after hitting a single off Rivera earlier. After Russell Martin caught Ichiro, it was time for some modest celebrating.
No big screams, no big yells, no jumping around too much. At 41, nothing makes you jump around too much. Maybe its the knowledge that saves are a somehwhat overrated stat. Or maybe just the fact that he knows he’s regarded as the greatest closer ever due to his clinical pitching in the playoffs, not the number of Saves he racks up each season (41 so far this season).
The foucs is the World Series at the end of the year, don’t be mistaken. Rivera is two saves away from passing Trevor Hoffman and becoming the all-time leader in Saves, but the postseason is what he truly cares about – I’m not focused on that. I’m not that type of guy. I’m a team player. I tell you guys many times and I’ll continue to tell you, it doesn’t depend on myself. It depends on my teammates giving me the opportunity to be able to pitch.
The Yankees got to win no. 90 with a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners, with Robinson Cano hitting a home run (his 26th this season) and 2 RBIs, making it 111 for him this year. Rivera’s achievement was almost delayed. David Robertson got in some trouble with a 2-0 count and a walk, so Mariano came on to finish the job.
Derek Jeter who’s been with him since the start for the Yankees was able to relate, not only because they’ve won so much together and played together for so long. He also had his own big milestone moment this year, reaching the coveted 3000 hit mark. We’ve been close for a long time and I know how important it is for him to come in and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in it. He’s a prideful guy.
Joe Girardi wasn’t shy of giving away some compliments, feeling good after the win – I don’t know if we’ll ever see it again. That’s how much of an accomplishment this is that he and Trevor Hoffman have done. Simply remarkable. This is a guy who I believe is the best closer that’s ever been in the game and I’ve had the fortune of catching him, coaching him and managing him and it’s a treat.
The closest pitcher even remotely close to Rivera among active pitchers is Francisco Cordero, who’s 36, with 322 saves. Like Girardi said, it’ll be a very unlikely occasion to see anyone reach these numbers again.