Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 10/20/14

New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera walks back to the dugout after the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago on August 2, 2009. The Yankees won 8-5. UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

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So this is what the ninth inning must be like sometimes for the other 29 teams that do not have the luxury of calling on Mariano Rivera. The career saves leader has spoiled the New York Yankees, rarely slipping up in 17 years as their closer. But last week, the 43-year-old baseball sage stunned a generation of fans by blowing three consecutive save opportunities for the first time in 721 chances. Since Rivera took over as New York's closer in 1997, there have been 29 other occasions when a pitcher went through such a stretch, according to STATS. Rivera says with a little work he will be just fine. And that is why his teammates - and Yankees fans - are hardly worried.
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