Monday, August 20, 2012


Derek Lowe speaks up for Mariano Rivera

8/15/12, "Does Chapman deserve the Cy Young Award?" Ken Rosenthal,

"If it's awards season, it must be time for a narrative....

After talking Tuesday to three pitchers who performed as both starters and closers — Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, future Hall of Famer John Smoltz and Derek Lowe — I'd at least like to hear more of a debate....

Lowe said that because Mariano Rivera has never won a Cy, then it's difficult for him to envision any current reliever winning one....

Only one reliever — Eric Gagne in 2003 — has won the award in the past 20 years. The great Rivera has six top-10 finishes — one second, three thirds, a fifth and an eighth....

Lowe offers a different historical perspective, saying that if Rivera never won a Cy Young, then perhaps no reliever should.

Is Chapman that much better than Rivera was?

Can anyone be?"...
(continuing): Derek Lowe: ""You knew that after the sixth inning, you had two more innings to score or the game was over," said Lowe, who played for the Red Sox against Rivera's Yankees from 1997 to 2004.

"The guy was so dominant, he changed the way the other team played. You knew it was an eight-inning game. Everyone knew it. If that guy doesn't win one it would be hard to say these guys (Chapman and Kimbrel) deserve it more than he did."

Lowe, who finished third in the 2002 AL Cy Young race as a starter after leading the league in saves two years earlier,
"You'd have to really, really break down the numbers, as far as saves go," Lowe said. "How many were three-run saves? How many were two-run saves? How many were against the heart of the lineup?"...


Editor's notes: In 2003, Eric Gagne's face was seen nightly on ESPN, and he was given the NL Cy Young Award based on his "regular season total save stat" record. Rivera has never come close to winning that award. Even by 2003, not much was said about Mo other than he was "good in the post season." His picture was on the cover of a book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," about the 2001 Yankees.

In 2005, Rivera was #1 on the MLB AL Cy Young Predictor. He was almost 19 points ahead of Colon:
Specially selected BBWAA voters in 2005 judged Rivera a very distant second. 6 voters left his name entirely off their ballot. Not to say every pitcher who clearly dominates the above 'predictor' (in 2005 it was called the "Bill James/Rob Neyer Cy Young Predictor) should win, but there's a bloodbath's worth of difference between that poll and what the award voters did. Among other things, the "save" stat is very handy. 'Experts' may say it's a meaningless joke of a stat. The next day the same 'experts' can say a pitcher isn't good enough because he should have had more saves. And the 'respected experts' won't get fired from their jobs for this. In 2005, one of the 6 assigned AL Cy Young voters who left Mariano Rivera completely off their ballot was Sheldon Ocker who found it necessary to mention "New York" in his evaluation of Rivera though New York votes have no more weight than 12 other markets. If anything, screwing the Yankee makes a NY voter immortal and increases his likelihood of being invited onto ESPN:

11/9/2005, "Baseball; Award Eludes Rivera; Colon Wins the Cy Young," NY Times, Tyler Kepner

Kepner: "His dominance seems to have had a numbing effect
on voters.
''For him to get anybody's attention
So Rivera's 7 wins in his 78.1IP in 2005 don't count. He can't have the award because saves are no good, then he can't have it because he didn't have enough cookie saves. In 2005,
The Yankees didn't exactly have the luxury of waiting around to give Rivera easy saves so he could win an award. The AL Cy Young award is decided by BBWAA's Jack O'Connell when he selects which 26 voters will vote for the award. 2005 was only 2 years removed from 2003 when the award was given to Eric Gagne. Some people might have said there were big reasons Rivera deserved it as much if not more than Eric Gagne. To make absolutely sure this didn't happen, a lot of people would have had to leave Mo completely off their ballot, and that's what happened. 6 voters left his name off the ballot. Some admitted his being a Yankee hurt him. At least one insider says it was a pistol-whipping, anti-Yankee bias plus spite that withheld the award from Rivera. Even without incessant prompting from Bud Selig, writers are quite willing to punish deserving Yankee players at awards time "because they're on a team of rich guys getting it done." Besides, Selig's heart belongs to another.

On July 28, 2006, BBWAA member Dave Sheinin suggested the AL Cy Young and MVP could both be given to Jonathan Papelbon.

In 2008, Krod, Frankie Rodriguez, was discussed for both AL Cy Young and AL MVP. He came in 3rd in Cy Young voting and 6th in MVP voting. In all his years,
After Rivera's 16 inning 2009 post season more people starting thinking of him as the best. During the 2009 ALCS, Howard Bryant wrote:

10/23/09, "Moves Making ALCS More Interesting," Howard Bryant,
The difference-maker, of course, is Rivera. And regardless of what the Yankees do for the remainder of the series,
Rivera's 2011 "regular season total save stat" record was correctly viewed as icing on the cake:
"Not that he needed it or that anyone cared about the number itself."...
For the record, I like to note his 2 saves in one day. As of 5/26/10, Rivera pitched 2 saves in one day 6 times in regular season. The 5/25/10 game was shortened due to rain. It's final 3 innings were played on 5/26 along with the game scheduled for that day. Rivera pitched the ending of the 5/25 game as well as the 5/26/10 game, both were 1-run games. 2 saves in one day 5 x was noted in a 5/3/07 AP article by Elias. The link for that is likely inactive now. I mention this because his six 2 saves in one day doesn't usually show up on stat sheets assessing durability. Rivera's 5/26/10 two-game outing doesn't show up on any records anyway because the 5/25 game is listed as having been played entirely on that day. *Update: Holy cow! Baseball Reference now has "susp" (for "suspended") written on the stat sheet for 5/25/10. It's a beginning.

Above 2009 ALCS game 1, 10/16/09, Angels in the Bronx, drizzle, 11:15pm, was 45 degrees at game start, likely below 40 by 11:15pm.
Rivera for many years has had shorter off seasons than other relievers. The year 2011 was the first time I'd seen the topic mentioned of stress on post season pitchers and its effect on their subsequent regular season. Even then, the topic was only about one year's worth of stress. MLB's concern was about 2010 champ SF Giants pitchers breaking down. (Rivera wasn't mentioned in the article).

1/14/11,, "Giants' pitchers arming themselves against short offseason," by Chris Haft

MLB expressed concern that Giants' pitchers had to work an extra month in the post season. Yet teams have been in this situation since 1995 when 3 levels of post season play became standard:

"Adding a month to their 2010 season while winning the World Series also added
2010 strain on the Giants is referenced by the AP on 4/29/12:

4/29/12, AP, "Then there's the cumulative strain. Wilson set career highs in saves, games and innings pitched in 2010, when the bearded closer helped the Giants win the World Series. His elbow acted up in 2011, causing him to miss more than a month....

"A lot of times, people don't understand mentally and physically how you have to overextend when you go to the playoffs and World Series," Baker said. "You're still pitching while everybody else is home resting. That's a lot more. And you have less time to recover for next year. You have a shorter winter.
"Winning takes its toll, big time. There's nothing better than that, but it takes its toll.""...

Rivera was named MVP of the 2003 ALCS and the 1999 World Series. 'Experts' would say, "Rivera's good in the post season," as if it were a separate sport, not to be dwelt on. Move along. He pitched the equivalent of 2 additional years of relief work, 141 innings, sandwiched alongside his regular season work, but it's not allowed to be mentioned.

 Two more citations about baseball awards voters and anti-Yankee bias:

11/11/2005, "Bias against Yankees shows in Cy Young Award,", John Gambadoro

"On the West Coast we believe there is a thing called the East Coast bias. In New York, they believe there is a thing called the Yankees bias. How else to explain how Mariano Rivera didn't win the Cy Young Award? The best closer in the history of the game happened to have the best year of his career and he gets beat out by a guy who posted a fine-but-hardly-stellar ERA of 3.48. Bartolo Colon did win 21 games but his 157 strikeouts were far from phenomenal - you could even make the argument that Johan Santana had a better year as a starter.

So how does a guy whose numbers are good but not Bob Gibson-like win the award over a reliever who at one point in the season converted 37 straight save chances. Rivera had 43 saves. He had 80 strikeouts and just 18 walks, and he gave us just one run on the road all year. One voter didn't even put Rivera on his ballot.***The only logical explanation is that there is, indeed, a Yankee bias."...

***Ed. note: Actually 6 writers left Rivera's name off their ballots, per NY Times above:

11/9/2005, "Rivera, who finished third
in 1996, 1999 and 2004, was left off six ballots."... ------------------------------------------------------------------ 

9/22/2011, "Joe Girardi deserves a lot of credit," Rob Parker, ESPN New York

"New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi likely won't win American League Manager of the Year.
In fact, he'll be lucky to finish in the top three in the voting.

Sadly, most baseball writers/voters just can't look past the Yankees' $200 million payroll to actually see what he's done.

Plus, there's an anti-New York vote that swirls around Baseball America whether folks want to admit it or not."...


Reference: 7/28/06, "Papelbon Makes a Speedy Arrival," Washington Post, Dave Sheinin

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