Playoffs still realistic, even without Rivera
May, 4, 2012
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesMariano Rivera has more saves than three teams since 1995.
With Mariano Rivera suffering a torn ACL in his right knee on Thursday, the question now becomes who pitches the ninth inning for the Yankees.
Among Yankees not named Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano has the most career saves with 90. But, David Robertson has been one the top relievers since the start of last season.
Among active pitchers who have thrown at least 200 innings, Robertson has the highest rate of strikeouts per nine innings at 12.17. Since last season, Robertson’s K per 9 is 13.7, compared to 8.2 for Soriano.
Robertson also led all relievers in 2011 with 3.9 wins above replacement (WAR).
Since recording his first save in 1995, Rivera’s 608 saves – in addition to being the most in major-league history – are more than the Kansas City Royals (587), Arizona Diamondbacks (571) and Tampa Bay Rays (521). (Arizona and Tampa Bay’s first seasons were 1998.)
Rivera’s 2.21 ERA is the lowest in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings. His 1.00 WHIP is second only to Addie Jones’ 0.97 in major-league history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
As good as Rivera has been in the regular season (14 30-save seasons, 15 consecutive 20-save seasons), he took things to the next level in the postseason.
Rivera is the all-time postseason leader in appearances (96), saves (42) and ERA (0.70).
In those 96 postseason appearances, only two players hit home runs off Rivera. Sandy Alomar of the Cleveland Indians in Game 4 of the 1997 ALDS, and Jay Payton of the New York Mets in Game 2 of the 2000 World Series.
Whether Robertson or Soriano take over for Rivera, the impact on the Yankees' playoff chances will be minimal, according to Accuscore.
With Rivera, the Yankees chances of making the postseason were 64.5 percent. With Robertson or Soriano, New York's postseason chances do decrease, but only a little more than a percentage point (63.3 with Robertson, 63.2 with Soriano).