Mariano Rivera laughs as he listens to the mock cheers of Boston Red Sox fans after he is introduced before the start of the Red Sox home opener against the Yankees in 2005.All season, we’ve been tracking Mariano Rivera as he prepares to pitch in his final series against each team. Next up on the goodbye list: the Boston Red Sox this weekend.
Did you know?
• Rivera's 58 saves vs. the Red Sox are not only the most against the franchise by any player, but are more than the next two pitchers on the list combined -- Rick Aguilera (27) and Roberto Hernandez (22).
• He has four saves vs. the Red Sox this season and with three games remaining has a chance to match or surpass his single-season mark for saves against Boston. In 2001, 2005 and 2007 he had six saves against the Red Sox.
• Rivera's 13 wins over the Red Sox are his most against any team. He is also tied with Rollie Fingers for the most wins by a relief pitcher against the Red Sox in the Divisional Era (since 1969).
• Mariano did not allow a home run to a Red Sox batter over his first 30 appearances (34 innings) against the team.
That streak of 30 straight relief appearances without allowing a homer to begin his career versus the Red Sox is the second-longest such streak all-time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Red Faber didn't allow a homer in his first 32 relief appearances vs. the Red Sox from 1914-33.
• The first Red Sox hitter to go deep vs. Rivera was Manny Ramirez on June 4, 2001. Rivera blew the save thanks to Ramirez's two-run shot in the top of the ninth inning, but Luis Sojo's walk-off single in the bottom of the frame gave Rivera and the Yankees the win.
• Rivera's six postseason saves against the Red Sox are his most against any team. It is also tied for the most postseason saves by a single player vs. any team. Dennis Eckersley also has six postseason saves vs. the Red Sox.
• In seven playoff appearances at Yankee Stadium vs. the Red Sox, Rivera has converted all three of his save opportunities and has not allowed a run in 10 innings. In those games he has faced just nine batters with a man in scoring position and has retired all of them, including five via strikeout.
• Rivera has blown 16 regular season saves vs. the Red Sox, his most vs. any team. It is also the most blown saves by a single pitcher vs. any team, ahead of Kent Tekulve's 14 blown saves vs. the Phillies.
• Rivera has hit nine Red Sox batters in his career. That's three more than any other team he's faced. He has hit Kevin Youkilis three times, but no other Red Sox player more than once.
• Rivera did not allow a stolen base in any of his first 48 appearances against the Red Sox, a streak that would end during the 2004 regular season when the Red Sox had steals in two different games against him.
They would get another in the postseason, the famous one by Dave Roberts in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, the only one they would get in 12 postseason games against him.
He Said It
"In a world of uncertainty, in a world of 'look at me athletes', for almost 20 years he was the most selfless, accountable and consistent professional in the history of sports."
-- Curt Schilling, former Red Sox pitcher
The Magic Mo'ment
• Oct. 16, 2003: Rivera closes out Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS vs. the Red Sox with three scoreless innings. Rivera's effort allowed Aaron Boone to win the game with a walk-off home run leading off the 11th inning, giving the Yankees and Rivera one of the most dramatic postseason wins in baseball history.
More on Game 7:
• Rivera is one of four pitchers to throw at least three scoreless innings of relief to earn the win in a winner-take-all postseason game, joining Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson (1924 Senators), Joe Page (1947 Yankees) and Pedro Martinez (1999 Red Sox).
• Rivera has pitched three innings or more in two postseason games, both of which the Yankees won on dramatic home runs, the first by Jim Leyritz in Game 2 of the 1995 ALDS against the Mariners and the other in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, won by Boone’s homer.
• April 11, 2005: Rivera is given a standing ovation as players are introduced at Fenway Park prior to the Red Sox home opener against the Yankees, one in which the home fans would celebrate the team ending its World Series drought. Rivera would respond by tipping his cap to the crowd.
• July 5, 2008: The Red Sox trail the Yankees 2-1 with the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth inning. The time has come for a Rivera great escape. He would strike out Coco Crisp, get Jason Varitek to pop to first and strike out Julio Lugo to end the game.