Pena is Charging the Rays Batteries
Mike Carlson / AP
Oh Carlos, how you tend to flirt with our hearts and then break it when you strikeout with men in scoring position, or when the Rays have a chance to cement a victory. How we enjoy seeing that infectious smile and that graceful grin that makes us forgive you for everything that has happened both good and bad this year. But your single in the bottom of the 10th inning last night push your squad towards the playoff once again in 2009.
And Carlos let me tell you, it was done in classic Pena fashion with a accent mark on the night being that gliding RBI-single that seemed to drift forever before it bounced upon that turf. You wonder how you could have built another layer after hitting two home runs for 3 RBIs before your at bat in the 10th inning. When you took that second pitch from Jason Grilli and drilled it back into centerfield you sent more than our hearts a flutter last night. You also might have silenced the wave of critics that have been building energy and momentum concerning another run by you towards a strikeout crown.
But let’s dwell on the positives today and forget the past shall we. Can we forget that you currently lead the American League in strikeouts with 147 because of the magic of last night. But a bright side to it all is that you are also tied with Boston’s Jason Bay for the top spot in walks with 78 this season. Also fans are forgetting today about how you have gone 9 for 32 with 5 home runs and 10 RBIs followed by 6 strikeouts. But those numbers might be a bit dwarfed by the last two games where you have been 4 for 7 with 3 homers, 4 runs scored and 5 RBIs.
Also missing from the box score might be the fact that you have now had an RBI on your last 4 hits this series. You have lived up to your leadership role in this series. We are taught from a young age to lead by example, and you have done just that Carlos. That stat really freaks me out to the potential you could have to turn this playoff push into a playoff reality soon if you keep on track and get those timely hits.
Now I am not asking for a homer a game, or even a bunch of them. Instead I would love to see a few scattered singles that could produce scoring chances or RBIs in this next road trip. You have done well against the team that drafted you first into the MLB family. Now after three games you will visit another “ex”. When you and the Rays arrive in Detroit, it might be time for you again to show the same fire and the same drive to show the Tigers, just like you did to the Rangers, what it is like to miss Carlos Pena.
Another wild stat from last night, only four other players in the last 15 years have ended a game with an RBI-single after hitting 2 home runs in the contest. The Cardinals Albert Pujols did it on April 16, 2006, Twin Torri Hunter did it on May 26, 2001, ex-Dodger and Rockie Todd Hollandsworth did it on April 15, 2001 and ex-Brave Brian Jordan did it again on July 15, 1995. Only Hollandsworth and Pujols did it by ending their games on their third home run. Simply amazing that now your name is etched among these players names.
And why don’t we add another kicker to your statistics as you currently have 34 home runs and lead the American League again this season. But lets add another interesting “Carlos” fact to your player resume’. You are currently on pace to become the third player in major league history to hit as many singles (34) as you have home runs. Ex-Cardinal Mark McGwire did it 4 times, and Barry bonds did it in 2001. I know the company might look a bit “tainted” right now, but you are in rare air my friend with this feat.
So Carlos, I can’t not love what you are doing right now, but for this team to thrust itself back into contention and make the playoffs they need your clubhouse leadership and your bats to stay upbeat and hot right now. Last night was your third multi-homer game of the season, And more might be needed before it is all said and done on October 3rd, but we know you have it in you Carlos. We do believe!
The fact you now have 8 homers in the last 14 games shows you can do it in the clutch, and nothing is more clutch than coming through for you team in the playoff push. With you next home run you will also own the top two season spot for home runs in a season, and we all know that just might be a matter of time before that record of 46 you set in 2007 will fall too. So now is the time Carlos, we want to again see you “do that dance” in the dugout. We want to again see that Pena smile go deep into October, and last but not least, we love to see those team meetings at the plate!