Mo blows a save. The Yankees lose a close one. It’s only one game but I felt devastated. This one felt like a playoff game, like it was win or go home.
But it was only one game.
Luckily the Yankees have 161 more on their way to October, and of course, they will lose again, but this one hurt for some reason.
But it was, only one game.
Both managers were managing like it was do or die as well. Joe Girardi intentionally walks a .220 hitter to go after a slugger that proceeds to hit a grand slam. Joe Maddon attempts a couple suicide squeeze plays, one where the batter Jose Molina missed the sign and was swinging away and could have killed Sean Rodriguez as he barreled towards home.
Tampa took a 4-0 lead off of Carlos Pena’s grand slam, the Yankees fought back behind newly acquired Raul Ibanez to go up 6-4 and through it all was a parade of bullpen pitchers, clutch hitting on both sides and incredible plays by a few. But after eight innings the game was exactly where all Yankees fans would want it: a one run lead and Mariano Rivera jogging in from the bullpen.
And then Desmond Jennings guided a single through the middle. Ben Zobrist followed with a triple that brought Jennings home to tie the game and left the winning run perched on third with no outs. The Yankees added an infielder and played with two outfielders knowing anything hit over the infielders heads would win it. Mo got a strikeout, and then came Pena again. And he slapped a ball between the two outfielders. End of game.
But it was only one game.
There were some positives taken from this game:
Although C.C Sabathia was not at his sharpest he did what an ace should do. He battled through six innings and handed the ball over to the three men that will always be trusted to shorten the game. Rafael Soriano and David Robertson did their jobs. On this night Mo did not.
Raul Ibanez showed the Yankees fans why he was signed by driving in the first run in the second inning, and launching a three run blast in the third.
The old men, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez played like young men, with both Jeter and A-Rod pulling off some nifty plays in the filed and adding some hits at the plate.
Mark Teixeira was his usual gold-glove self at first, and narrowly missed a home run.
Brett Gardner went 2-4 and made some terrific throws.
Robbie Cano looked like Robbie Cano, corralling a great throw by Gardner and selling the tag to get a runner out at third, and going 2-5 at the plate.
The Yankees will play again tonight, and tomorrow, and in May, June, July, August and September. And when it is all said and done they will be in the playoffs, and this one game, this heart-breaker that should have ended with Mariano Rivera’s 604th save will be just that – one game.