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As A Closer, Clay Holmes Is Human... Here's Why

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Mariano Rivera recorded a total of 82 blown saves during his illustrious career from 1995 to 2013. Despite this, Rivera is widely regarded as the greatest closer in baseball history, holding the MLB record for most career saves with 652.

Here are some of the most significant blown saves in Mariano Rivera’s career:

1. 2001 World Series Game 7

  • Date: November 4, 2001
  • Opponent: Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Significance: This is arguably the most famous blown save of Rivera’s career, as it came in Game 7 of the World Series. Rivera entered the game with a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th inning. However, a combination of a broken bat single, an error on a bunt, and a bloop single by Luis Gonzalez resulted in the Diamondbacks winning the game and the series.
  • Outcome: Diamondbacks won the World Series 4-3.

2. 2004 ALCS Game 4

  • Date: October 17, 2004
  • Opponent: Boston Red Sox
  • Significance: Rivera blew a save in the 9th inning, allowing the Red Sox to tie the game. This was the beginning of an epic comeback by Boston, who were down 3-0 in the series. The Red Sox went on to win Game 4 in extra innings and eventually won the series 4-3, making MLB history by overcoming a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series.
  • Outcome: Red Sox won the ALCS and eventually the World Series.

3. 1997 ALDS Game 4

  • Date: October 5, 1997
  • Opponent: Cleveland Indians
  • Significance: In the 8th inning, with the Yankees leading 2-1, Rivera gave up a game-tying home run to Sandy Alomar Jr. The Indians went on to win the game in extra innings and ultimately the series.
  • Outcome: Indians won the ALDS 3-2.

4. 2000 Regular Season, Game vs. Mets

  • Date: June 11, 2000
  • Opponent: New York Mets
  • Significance: Rivera blew a save in the 9th inning by giving up a home run to Mike Piazza. While this was a regular-season game, it stood out because it was against the cross-town rival Mets during the Subway Series, adding extra drama and intensity.
  • Outcome: Mets won the game.

5. 2011 Regular Season, Game vs. Boston Red Sox

  • Date: May 17, 2011
  • Opponent: Boston Red Sox
  • Significance: Rivera blew a save by allowing a game-tying hit to the Red Sox. Although it was a regular-season game, it was notable because Rivera had historically been very successful against Boston, and this added another chapter to the storied Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.
  • Outcome: Red Sox won the game.

Despite these notable blown saves, Mariano Rivera’s career was defined by his exceptional consistency and dominance in the closer role, especially in high-pressure postseason situations. His legacy includes numerous clutch performances that helped the Yankees secure five World Series titles during his tenure.  

Now let’s think about a guy like Clay Holmes, not a Mariano Rivera, but pretty damn good as a Yankees and definitely good this season. As of June 13, 2024, Clay Holmes has blown a total of 12 saves during his tenure with the New York Yankees. This includes the most recent blown save against the Kansas City Royals on June 13, 2024​.

Here are some notable blown saves in Clay Holmes‘ career with the Yankees:

  1. June 13, 2024 vs. Kansas City Royals: Holmes gave up two runs in the ninth inning, allowing the Royals to overcome a one-run deficit and win the game 5-4.

  2. May 21, 2023 vs. Seattle Mariners: Holmes entered the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead but gave up four runs, resulting in a 5-4 loss for the Yankees. This game snapped his streak of 20 scoreless innings​, according to the Sporting News​​.

  3. July 11, 2022 vs. Boston Red Sox: This blown save marked the beginning of a rough period for Holmes, where he struggled significantly with his control and effectiveness. This game was part of a stretch where he posted a 9.00 ERA and blew several saves in quick succession​, according to Yanks Go Yard.

These blown saves illustrate some of the key challenges Holmes has faced, including issues with control and occasional lapses in performance under high-pressure situations. Despite these setbacks, Holmes has also had periods of dominance, making him a crucial, albeit sometimes inconsistent, part of the Yankees’ bullpen. Who knows if Holmes can ever get to where someone like Mariano was, but one thing I do know if the guys, human… but he will bounce back fine.

–Alvin Izzo
BYB Yankee History Contributor


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