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Quintessential Mo-Ments No. 23: Nowhere to go but up

09/11/2013 9:04 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Mariano Rivera wonders what went wrong in the 2005 season-opening series with Boston.(AP)
The events of the 2004 ALCS still stung in the minds of Yankees fans the next April, and it was perhaps made even worse when they watched their team's legendary closer, who was battling through bursitis in his pitching elbow, blow two consecutive saves in their season-opening series against Boston – the second a five-run meltdown that earned Mariano Rivera perhaps his first-ever chorus of boos as he walked off the mound.

Well, if the true test of a man is how he handles adversity, then Mo had a strong case to be 2005’s Man of the Year.

He wouldn’t blow another save until August, recording 31 in a row between his second and third blown saves of the season, and 2005 ended up being perhaps his best statistical season ever; Rivera finished with a career-low 1.38 ERA and 80 strikeouts, his second-highest total outside of 1996, and ended up with a second-place finish in AL Cy Young voting.

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