In the bottom of the first inning, the Rays had runners on 2nd and 3rd with two out with Sean Rodriguez at the plate. Joe Girardi decided he wanted CC Sabathia to intentionally walk him to load the bases for Carlos Pena. Keep in mind; it’s the first inning of the first game of the season. Pena then promptly destroyed the ball for a grand slam; Rays up 4-0. Girardi’s decision to walk the light hitting Sean Rodriguez in favor of the power hitting Carlos Pena was definitely a head scratcher.The Yankees offense was resilient in this one, however, following Pena’s slam. The Yanks manufactured two runs in the second with Raul Ibanez driving in a run on a ground out, and Mark Teixeira scoring on a wild pitch. Then, in the third, the Yanks took the lead by scoring four runs; three coming off the bat of Ibanez on a three run blast. I’ll admit that I didn’t like the Ibanez signing, and so far he’s making me eat crow…And I like it.
There was only run scored until the bottom of the ninth after Ibanez’s bomb, and that came off the bat of Evan Longoria when he launched a homer off CC in the third. Following Longo’s homer, CC settled down the final three innings and finished with a pitching line of 6 innings, five runs, eight hits, seven strikeouts, three walks, and two homers. The opposing starter, James Shields, allowed six runs in 5 innings.
The Yanks went into the bottom of the eighth with a 6-5 lead and David Robertson had a typical David Robertson inning; allow runners to reach first and third with no one out, strike out the side to end the inning. Ho-hum! That's 3 strikeouts on the David Robertson's strikeout counter. Remember be sure to buy a BYB shirt too and Bleeding Yankee Blue will also donate a dollar of that purchase to David and Erin's foundation. Do it, you’ll feel a lot better inside.
Anyway... let me get back on track. The Yanks then went into the bottom of the ninth, still holding onto their one run lead, and Mariano Rivera was most likely making his final Opening Day appearance in his career. Unfortunately, it did not go that well, as he allowed a booming triple to Ben Zobrist following a single to Desmond Jennings to tie the game at 6. Mo then intentionally walked the next two batters to load the bases with no one out before striking out Sean Rodriguez and allowing a walk off long single to Carlos Pena to lose the game 7-6. What a shame.
Another thing you can point to that hurt the Yankees in this game was their inability to hit with RISP. The Yanks hit 2-for-11 with RISP today and left 12 runners on base. Though scoring six runs should be good enough to win a game against a team whose cleanup hitter is Jeff Keppinger, it certainly would have been nice if they got an extra hit or three with RISP.
With all of this said, you have to move onto the next day. The great thing about baseball is that when you lose a tough game like this you get to go right back at it in the near future, and that’s tomorrow night. Hiroki Kuroda will make his Yankee regular season debut against David Price. Go Yanks!
--Jesse Schindler, BYB Lead Staff Writer
Follow me on Twitter @SchindlerJesse
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