That is where things got ugly, as Mo allowed a single, a double, which led to a run scored, and no outs.
Girardi had no choice but to instruct Mo to walk the next two batters intentionally so the bases would be loaded. Next he swapped Nick Swisher for Eduardo Nunez to crowd the infield in hopes that the Rays Sean Rodriguez would bunt.
Regardless of what you have or will hear about Girardi’s decision, it was without question the Yankees best option at the time. The Yankees were looking for the double play at either first or third and home plate.
Rodriguez wound up not bunting, but Mo struck him out.
Than came up Carlos Pena, who was 0-11 lifetime against Rivera but he had the hottest bat of the night by far including a grand slam off Sabathia in the first inning.
Well, Pena came through again and hit a deep ball over Brett Gardner’s head and the Rays won the game 7-6.
SHOULD YANKEE FANS BE WORRIED ABOUT MARIANO RIVERA?
Well, the Yankees and Rays are both playoff contenders and even though this is just one-game, remember that is what last season came down too.
I understand that players are adjusting but what made this loss sting was that Mariano Rivera could not do his job and that is something Yankee fans are not used too.
Rivera is by far the best closer ever to step on a mound, but he is almost 42-years old and in 17-seasons has yet to regress at all, so convincing myself that it is all good after a blown save plus a loss on Opening Day is hard to do.
When it comes to Mo it stings in the hearts of Yankee fans, and New Yorkers are not supposed to care like that about anything but championships but this time it is different.
Now getting back to answering my question of whether I am worried about what transpired at Tropicana Field yesterday afternoon…in my mind no I am not, but in my heart yes.
All I know for certain is that yesterday is over and hopefully the Yankees get a win today.
ABOUT CC SABATHIA?
The table below is for all Yankee fans, including myself, that got chills when Rays Carlos Pena hit a grand slam off ace CC Sabathia in the first inning of the 2012 season.
Right after Pena hit the bomb, my father looked at me and said, “We are in for a long afternoon.”
So, knowing that Sabathia is a perennial slow starter, I ran to my MacBook and jumped on my favorite site baseball-reference.com to Sabathia’s page to show my dad this was normal; and to double reassure myself of what I already knew.
And I thought… hey might as well share the specifics, as it made me feel a lot better but I tend to have early season panics annually.
Anyway, here are Sabathia’s Opening Day stats from 2006-2011 and his career average is at the bottom.