Apr 28, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Diego Padres catcher Rene Rivera (44) celebrates with third baseman Jace Peterson (3) after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the fifth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Rivera Clutch For Padres When They Needed It Most


The San Diego Padres have suffered through some of their worst offensive output in the franchise’s history. Yet coming into Monday night’s series opener with the first place San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park, the Friars found themselves only 3 1/2 games out of the division lead in the National League West. The Padres were hoping that solid starting pitching and a lockdown bullpen would keep the team close enough to win perhaps one game on the road. The team just got outfielder Cameron Maybin back, and are close to getting both Seth Smith and Carlos Quentin back into their anemic lineup.

So when a career .205 hitter, who recorded almost a quarter of his career RBI totals in one night, the team will take that production with a smile, along with a much-needed win against their divisional foe. Rene Rivera is considered the ideal back-up catcher. He plays solid defense, and calls a magnificent game. Rivera has done a wonderful job handling the Padres’ young arms in Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross. When he has a career night at the dish when the team needed it the most, he just endears himself to both his teammates and coaching staff even more.

The 5-RBI night for Rivera was the most ever recorded by a member of the Padres in AT&T Park history. He also became the 11th player in team history to have a 5-RBI night, and the first since former Friars’ backstop Ramon Hernandez did it–at AT&T Park against the Giants back on September 27th, 2005.

Padres manager Bud Black told the UT San Diego that he believes Rivera’s bat may be one of his most underrated qualities: “I think there’s more to his bat than his career stats indicate.”

While Rene Rivera isn’t ever going to be one of the elite-hitting catchers in the game, it’s steady defense, and the occasional career night that helps keep his team competitive night in and night out.

 

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