The point here is that even the very, very best get beaten from time to time, so when Mariano Rivera surrendered a two-run bomb to Bobby Abreu on Tuesday night, blowing his second game in as many contests for the Yankees, it's not necessarily the end of the world.
In New York, though, after a series loss to the Red Sox, it can sometimes seem that way.
Despite the setback, Rivera, who's just a few months away from wearing his age on his back, isn't nervous that he's losing his best stuff.
"I don't worry about that," Rivera said, according tothe New York Post, when asked of his two consecutive blown saves. "It will happen. Unfortunately it happened [Tuesday night]. I am not concerned."
Rivera's not concerned, but should he be? He has five blown saves in 34 opportunities this year, matching his total from last season, when he had 38 opportunities. The 1.5 percent drop in success rate is hardly worth mentioning, unless you consider that he blew just seven saves total from 2007-09. Or that prior to 2010, he had blown five or more saves just once (2003), but he's now done it in back-to-back seasons.
The most recent came Sunday night against the Red Sox, when Marco Sctuaro doubled to lead off the inning and later scored on a well-struck sacrifice fly by Dustin Pedroia. Tuesday night wasn't a save opportunity, but the two-run homer turned a 4-4 tie game into a 6-4 Angels lead with one swing.
Rivera's explanation for the Abreu home run was that "the pitch didn't get there enough" and that "it was not in enough."
But if you look at where catcher Russell Martin set up the target …
… you'll see that it kind of looked to be exactly where Rivera wanted to put it. Abreu was just able to hit it.
For now, though, it remains premature to call for the demise of No. 42. Another blown save this week that would allow the Angels to sniff life in the wild-card race, though? Rivera might not be concerned, but New York baseball fans — in particular, that guy in those photos behind the plate with that awesome white beard — will begin to get a bit worried.