Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mo Isn't Blown Away by Slump

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mo Isn't Blown Away by Slump

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The crisis began with a wayward cutter in Chicago.

Then it intensified with Miguel Cabrera's visit over the weekend.

Mariano Rivera has blown three consecutive save opportunities -- the only time that's happened in his Hall of Fame-bound career.

Except to Rivera, there's no crisis.

He says he knows exactly what's wrong -- an inconsistent release point and follow through, and exactly how to fix it -- working on his mechanics and throwing on the side.

"There's a lot left in the tank. I think the tank is getting full again," Rivera said with a big smile before the Yankees opened a four-game series Monday night with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels. "It's just another time [struggling with] pitching, my delivery. I wasn't repeating what I normally do, and that's the reason why I was leaving the ball over the plate.

"If the tank is getting empty, then the speed is going low and ... then you have to get out and push the car," he joked.

One blown save came Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox and two followed over the weekend to the Detroit Tigers.

Rivera's velocity has remained consistent, "so it's not a fatigue issue," he said. And he declared himself healthy.

So he's performing the pitching equivalent of a tuneup after talking it over Monday with pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

An inconsistent release point has two disastrous effects: It leaves pitches up in the zone and without movement. In other words, very hittable.

"When you're consistent, the ball has sharper breaks," Rivera said. "When you leave the ball up, it doesn't break. It doesn't do nothing."

He added that despite his 19 seasons in the majors, it's a common occurrence. It's often responsible for the annual swoon he seems to endure.

"It happens every year," he said.

Rivera, 43, converted his first 18 save opportunities in his final season before blowing a chance May 28 against the Mets. …

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