Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » Only Matchup That Matters is Rivera vs. Fuentes

Only Matchup That Matters is Rivera vs. Fuentes

By Mike Silva ~ October 14th, 2009. Filed under: Mike Silva.

We will hear about the Angels running game, pesky offense, and their ace John Lackey over the next few days. When you break down both teams they are very even in many areas. They both are great offensive teams. Anaheim relies more on speed versus the Yankees with the long ball. The Yanks middle relief may have the edge, but Anaheim has some good arms in their bullpen. As for the starting rotation, both teams have aces and question marks. Where the Angels fall short, and by a wide margin, is when you compare Mariano Rivera to their closer Brian Fuentes. That’s the only matchup that matters.

Brian Fuentes will not close out a game at Yankee Stadium. Yes, you heard it right, no chance. Think the kind of meltdowns you have seen over the years from Byung Hyun Kim, Armando Benitez, and recently Joe Nathan. He has a shot over at the Wizard of Oz aka Angel Stadium, but he ain’t no lock over there either. Remember, this is a guy who had to be replaced by an inexperienced Manuel Corpas in Colorado during their 2007 run to the World Series. He actually blew a save during that one game playoff in Game 163 against San Diego. Reliable is not a word that comes to mind with Fuentes on the mound.

Don’t be fooled by the 48 saves (career high) and look at his 2009 breakdowns.

ERA - 3.93

WHIP - 1.4

FIP - 4.42 and balloons to 5.73 career in the postseason.

The opposition is hitting .353 against him in tie ballgames and over .300 if the game is within a run. Fuentes performs his best with a 4 run lead or better. Often you expect the exact opposite from closers who tend to thrive on the “high wire nature” of the ninth inning. I can’t see any of these games being decided by more than a run or two. Certainly bad news for Fuentes.

If Francisco Rodriguez was still a Halo than I would be singing a different tune, but he is home with the rest of the 2009 Mets. Everyone is pale in comparison to Mariano Rivera, but we have seen Keith Foulke, K-Rod, and even Joe Borowski close out games against the Yankees in recent years. Not this year, not this Yankees team, and certainly not Brian Fuentes.

If you missed Frank Russo and I talk about the upcoming series against the Angels you can download it here.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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