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Rivera's two 'blips' don't worry Girardi

Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees

Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees stands on the mound after surrendering a ninth inning two-run home run to Bobby Abreu of the Los Angeles Angels. (Aug. 9, 2011) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

Joe Girardi said he's seen it from Mariano Rivera before.

"Usually when Mo has his little blips on the screen, sometimes they come back to back," Girardi said before Wednesday night's game. "Then he usually runs off a really good streak. If my sense is right, that's what will happen."

Rivera has had a rough couple of days, blowing a save in Boston Sunday night, then allowing Bobby Abreu's two-run homer in Tuesday's 6-4 loss to the Angels.

The two outings spurred what has been an annual -- at least the last several years -- refrain for the veteran: "Is this the beginning of the end?"

"We're so used to Mo being perfect all the time and not giving up runs that when he does, and because he's 41, it kind of alarms us all," Girardi said. "But if you look at his whole body of work this year it's really been pretty good."

Even with the last two outings, Rivera has 29 saves and a 2.23 ERA. Maybe a slight chink in the closer's armor has come this year as lefties are hitting .267 against Rivera (their career average is .208).

"If there's an explanation, his velocity's not quite what it used to be," Girardi said. "When I caught him it was anywhere from 94-98, now you're seeing 90-93, and that's going to make a little bit of a difference. But Mo year in and year out is one of the best closers in the game, whether he's lost a little bit on his fastball or not. I still feel great about when he goes out there."


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