TORONTO – Clay Holmes’ dominance has surpassed Mariano Rivera’s level.
The Yankees made their closest 29th consecutive game without a goal on Saturday at the 4-0 win over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Center, breaking the record of the Relief Jug Rivera franchise that has been in place since 1999.
“Just for the fact that he’s Mariano Rivera makes it so special,” Holmes said after throwing 1 ¹/perfect runs to finish the game. “He’s a guy I grew up watching. What he’s done in this game is so amazing. So just to be in the same category as one little thing he’s done, that’s so cool. Defending was great. It was fun putting on a show for this team and the Hunters. It was a small run. Fun. I think we can all hope to keep up.”
Holmes has now thrown 31 straight innings no runs allowed – Rivera’s 28-game no-goal streak has expanded to 30²/in innings. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Jack Aker was the last Yankees player before Holmes to score a goal-free streak for at least one season in 31 innings in 1969, with 33 innings in 18 games.
The only game in which Holmes has been allowed to run this season came on his first outing on April 8, when the Red Sox earned him in one run with three strokes in two-thirds.
Since then, Holmes has been almost out of reach, only allowing 15 hits and three walks while hitting 33 en route to breaking the franchise record.
“It was great,” said Director Aaron Boone. “We admitted it today in the post-game. He got the belt today because of it. Think about that historic franchise and remember the name Mariano, what more can you say? He was totally dominant and was again today.”
Holmes’ slider has improved this season, but his bread and butter is his dip, confusing hitters with his unexpected move.
“His dip, man, it’s a great bowling ball,” said Aaron Hicks. “The thing comes off of his hand and he’s very precise with it.”
Holmes could dominate with his match the way Rivera did with his cutter, and now he’s allowed to pass through the Hall of Famer — who congratulated Holmes on social media when he tied the record. Holmes also did this while transitioning into the closing role in place of injured Aroldis Chapman and didn’t hold back in the process.
You hear something now and then [about the record]Little things, but they don’t really change [anything]Holmes said. “When I go up the hill, the focus is the same. It’s definitely special, just for who Mo was. But I have to stay focused on what I’m doing and try to keep rolling.”
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