So what is the real impact of the Yankees losing Mariano Rivera?
I’m sure the Sabermetrics people who talk about how easy it is to replace 50 innings and that losing a starting pitcher or an every day player would be much worse than losing Rivera.
And David Robertson could very well turn out to be a pretty good closer. You know, 35-40 saves and a sub 3.00 ERA and some blown saves along the way.
But here is what Yankee fans need to get used to.
The 9th inning isn’t automatic anymore. Robertson is a good pitcher, but he doesn’t strike fear in anyone’s heart more than any other saves compiler.
The days of teams tightening up in the 8th inning because they know they have no chance in the 9th? That ended on the warning track in Kansas City.
EVERY other team has had to deal with this since 1996. The Yankees haven’t. Sure there were an exception for a season or two elsewhere.
Eric Gagne had that great 2003. Brad Lidge had the perfect 2008. Keith Foulke was amazing in 2004. Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner had a few dominating seasons.
But eventually they broke down.
Year in and year out, the Yankees and their fans never dealt with this.
Robertson had one shaky save yesterday and blew the save tonight.
He’ll save a few and blow a few.
You know, like “Non Rivera” closers tend to pitch.
Brace yourself, Yankee fans.
And welcome to the club.