Mariano Rivera = Most ineffective post-season closer of ALL TIME.
Sure, you can make the argument that Rivera has historically been a good closer in the post-season. You might even say he has been the best in history. I'll even go so far as to say that you might be right on both counts. HOWEVER, these statements do not necessarily contradict what I am saying. More on that later. Anyway, Joe Morgan raises a few eyebrows today with a shockingly enlightened column
about the use of closers. Nothing Bill James hasn't been saying for like two decades now, but decent progress for Joseph. Unfortunately, he has to go and say this:
"And I've always felt that closers are the most essential in the playoffs. That's why, to me, Mariano Rivera is the best pressure closer I've ever seen."
I don't know about you, but I can't think of a more "pressure"-filled scenario than protecting a lead in the seventh game of the World Series. Well, Rivera blew that one pretty famously, giving up four hits and committing a panicked throwing error in the process. Add to that the famous pair of blown saves in the 2004 ALCS, and, with apologies to Jose Mesa and BH Kim, Rivera owns the three highest-profile post-season blown saves in recent memory. Dennis Eckersley.
Yes, perhaps Rivera is the most effective post-season closer of all time. But mightn't he be the most ineffective as well? Well, probably not. But who knows....
(And if you think I will be swayed, deterred or silenced by his career post-season record of 8-1 or his 0.75 era, then you, my friend, are in fact the crazy one.)