Mariano Rivera is about perfection on the mound. His strength is not just his ability to close games, but to see the potential and goodness in others.

On the mound he takes care of everything, and for 608 regular-season games and another 42 in the postseason, Rivera has done just that, saving the Yankees.

The ninth inning is his inning. Forced to be a spectator because of a torn ACL in his right knee, life is tortuous. Mariano believes in David Robertson, but it's tough to watch his replacement, Rivera admitted last night.

And that was before Robertson was hammered, blowing the save and the game in a 4-1 loss to the Rays at a stunned Yankee Stadium, the first runs given up by Robertson since last Aug. 29. The right-hander surrendered all four runs in the ninth, the final three coming on a home run by Matt Joyce.