Does Washington have a Saul?

Lets be honest here, Saul Rivera has been bad in 2009. In 6 games (7 IP) he has allowed 10 ER, and has only had 2 scoreless outings. His ERA is at 12.27, and his WHIP is a whopping 2.58.

Ok he’s been worse than bad.

But that’s not the point. The point is its been seven innings pitched. His performance Sunday afternoon when the team needed him most was disappointing to say the least, and it probably will cause many Nats fans to say that they don’t need a bigger sample size to see that he just plain sucked.

They’re right, he did suck. But over the last three seasons this is how un-sucky Saul Rivera has been for a bad ball club that needed a lot of work in the bullpen.

2005- 54 G, 9 HLD, 60 IP, 3.43 ERA
2006- 85 G, 19HLD, 93 IP, 3.68 ERA
2007- 76 G, 17HLD, 84 IP, 3.96 ERA

I’ll take those 237 IP and judge them over his last 7 IP any day. The truth is Rivera has been the most consistent reliever in Washington Nationals franchise history. His ability to eat up innings successfully for a bad club has a broader impact that can ever be measured with stats as he saved the arms of many who probably would have just made situations worse.

The worst part about the whole situation is that Rivera would have been a Major Leaguer still today had Manny Acta not put Rivera in a situation to fail. Some pitchers just do not have the mentality to be closers, and Rivera is one of them. This can be noted by the fact that he has converted 0/7 saves in the last two years, and only 4/11 in his career.

The real question should be, why didn’t Manny Acta know this?