A Grand Slam AND A Blown Save! All from a returning Ray... GO LOS!
And you know I have mixed feelings, NYC born & bred, childhood in the shadow of original Yankee Stadium, Grampa listening to games on the radio, Phillip, Bill, all my personal Yankee influences. So, yeah, I get confused, and sometimes don't care who wins when they play the Rays... it literally becomes a win-win situation for me. But Friday, I heard the first third of the game in the car, on my way west to the Seder, but I was taping it at home, so I could see how it ended and .... heard Jeff DeForest tell the final score on the way home from the Seder... In fact, he said the Yankees were done for the year after this game, because if Mo can't close, you might as well hang 'em up. That's when I knew something extraordinary had happened.
Now, I was not that sad to see Los go to the Cubs. I was tired of liking him and his attitude and hating him every time he struck out, which was way too often IMHO. I loved Kotchman at 1st, trusted him to catch and hit and was sorry to lose him to the Indians. But to bring back The Whiffer? Talk about mixed feelings! By the time I wrote this, back in 2010, I was already calling him Pain Ya and wanting his salary to keep Crawford in town.
Here's my take. As Suzan mentioned on the radio, Carlos already had a great average against CC [Ed. No, he didn't -- he was 4 for 35.]. Second, he's been deliriously happy to be back with the Rays. Third, the bases were loaded. Fourth, he'd already hit 6 slams in his life. Fifth, it was opening day at the Trop & a new banner had been raised. Sixth, it was the first game of the season -- practically still Spring Training -- and neither pitcher was great. I just think the ball was there, meeting up with the bat and the adrenaline over the plate, fated, as a welcome back gesture. I mean, when he left the Rays last year he was batting .129 fer cripes sake. I don't think Girardi made a bad move walking S-Rod before him (insofar as walking anyone ever intentionally is a bad move), because Sean is young & coming up, his dad's a minor league coach & Carlos can be expected to strike out, walk, or hit, usually in that order. (I'd read the Yanks investigated getting Carlos, but they already have a superior 1st baseman who hits.) But Joe was probably familiar with his stats & strengths, and went with the percentages. The adrenaline won.
As for that shot in the 9th, total amazement [Ed. he'd never had a hit off Rivera]. But when Girardi set that 5-man infield, I'm sure it was like a red flag to a bull to hit the ball over that Maginot Line. Which he did. Oh, and Pena didn't blow Mo's save, Zorilla did.