There are always a few players that absolutely kill the Yankees. This weekend, it was Carlos Pena’s turn to show why he is a Yankee killer. Over the three game set, Pena collected six hits, slugged two home runs and drove in seven runs. Pena should have had a third home run, but fan interference limited the hit to only a double. In 310 career at-bats against the Yanks, Pena has blasted 23 HRs and posted a .232/.350/.510 line. Pena’s numbers are great against the Yankees and there’s no doubt that the Bombers won’t miss seeing him.
Overall, it was a very, very frustrating weekend of Yankee baseball. As a fan, my confidence is never high when the team plays in Tampa Bay. There’s something about that silly dome that rubs me the wrong way. Joe Girardi had a very curious weekend as he and Joe Maddon each took turns trying to overmanage. On Friday, Girardi’s decision to intentionally walk Sean Rodriguez to get to Pena in the first inning came back to haunt him. Even then, the Yankees had an opportunity to win the game, but Mariano blew the save opportunity. The Yanks had a nice comeback on Saturday, but it fell short. No effort at all by the Bombers on Sunday as they just looked like they were ready to get out of Tampa.
The Rays are a scary, scary team, but these three games comprise 1.8% of the regular season. These two teams will meet another 15 times before the season ends, so expect more great battles. The Rays clearly have some of the best arms in baseball and the Yanks will need to step up, work the counts, and get into the Ray pen. Time for the Yanks to pick up their first win tonight in Baltimore with Ivan Nova taking the ball.