BRONX, N.Y. — It was as ugly as the final results would indicate. The Tampa Bay Rays served notice to the New York Yankees in a brutal series sweep. The Yankees lost their flawless record at Yankee Stadium, their consecutive home series winning streak and grasp on first place in the American League East.
There were more injuries, a lack of hitting with RISP, not even a win in the game their ace started, and some questionable decisions made with the lineup and bullpen. Oh, and the Rays are not the Boston Red Sox. New York is 1-6 against Tampa this season and 15-3 against everyone else. The Yankees will certainly have a lot to ponder this weekend.
A large early deficit was too much for the Yankees to overcome against an actual major league baseball team. Nick Nelson and Luis Cessa did their best to keep the contest within striking distance, combining for five frames of scoreless relief. The lineup chipped away and had the opportunity to overtake the Rays bullpen in the seventh but left the bases loaded. The end result though was a 6-3 loss to the Rays.
Masahiro Tanaka clearly didn’t have it and the Rays were clearly on his pitches from the start. Tampa touched up Tanaka for five runs (four earned) in the third inning. The big blow was a three-run homer to center by Brandon Lowe. A passed ball by Gary Sanchez didn’t help matters either, making it 5-0.
An Austin Meadows home run to center effectively ended Tanaka’s evening in the fifth frame. The Yankee righty finished with a ledger of four frames, eight hits, six runs, five earned, zero walks and two K’s. Typically Tanaka pitched up or down to the opponent, Tuesday evening was not the case.
POWERING BUT NOT OVERPOWERING ENOUGH
The Bronx Bombers mounted some thunder against Blake Snell. Sanchez atoned for his passed ball by walloping a solo shot to left in the home half of the fourth.
Only 293 homers away from passing Rickey Henderson in that leadoff spot.
This 4-2 loss left Yankee fans perplexed. There were some funky moves made by manager Aaron Boone and the lineup posted an 0-for-7 with RISP. I thought Tuesday night would’ve served as a wakeup call. I thought wrong.
FORMER PIRATES PLANKING
Tyler Glasnow and Gerrit Cole were in a battle of attrition. Both former Pittsburgh Pirates teammates were lighting up the radar gun Wednesday evening. Cole fanned 10, while Glasnow sat down eight.
Cole plowed through 6.2 innings, a pair of solo home runs by Ji-Man Choi and Mike Zunino in the second and third innings respectively.
Glasnow was nearly as effective, toiling 5.2 frames, yielding a solo bomb into our section (205) to Voit in the third inning and a sac fly to Gio Urshela to right in the sixth inning, plating Aaron Hicks, who tripled to lead off the inning.
In the seventh inning, Cole was not pleased with Boone pulling him for Zack Britton. Yes, he had 109 pitches but I love the competitive fire and don’t blame him at all for wanting to keep chucking.
Where do I even begin? How about Clint Frazier being pinch-hit for by Mike Tauchman in the seventh inning? Maybe you’d like to try the eighth inning instead? Britton missing a ball flipped to him by Voit and Sanchez not backing up down the line at first base, enabling Yandy Diaz to advance to second base? Needing a strikeout in the worst way possible, Boone sticks with Britton all the way to 26 pitches, rather than swapping for Adam Ottavino. Pinch-hitter Mike Brosseau singled home Lowe to break the 2-2 tie. Willy Adames followed with an insurance RBI-single to right. Britton would land on the IL the next day with a leg injury.
In the ninth inning, after consecutive walks by Torres and Sanchez against Chaz Roe, Brett Gardner lined out to center. Following another pitching change by Rays manager Kevin Cash (the elevendy billionth of the evening) Jalen Beeks was brought into the game. Boone countered by pinch-hitting Miguel Andujar for Tauchman. On paper, Andujar is a better hitter than Tauchman and the left/right thing makes sense but Miggy just hasn’t had enough at-bats to get into a groove yet this season, so sending him up cold was kind of dubious. Andujar struck out on a terrible no check-swing call but went down nonetheless. Andujar would be optioned out to the alternate site after the game and Tauchman would be hitting third on Thursday afternoon. Go figure. Thairo Estrada followed suit with a whiff and that was the ballgame.
At first glance, it appeared as though the Yankees would breeze to victory. There was some early power from Voit and James Paxton was cruising but then the wheels fell off for a 10-5 defeat.
LUNCHTIME IS LUKE’S LAUNCH TIME
Voit continued his tear with homers in four consecutive contests. The Yankee first baseman took John Curtiss deep to Monument Park in the first frame, posting the Bronx Bombers to a 1-0 edge.
Does anyone stretch on this team? One inning after plating a run on a ground out, Torres left the game after stumbling down the first baseline in the fourth inning with a hamstring injury. He would take a trip to the MRI after the game.
Paxton was seemingly cruising into the fifth and would wind up with eight K’s on the afternoon. Yet, Paxton lost the zone, yielding three of his four walks in the fifth frame. Paxton gave up three runs and the lead. His cranky elbow made for a trip to the MRI as well.
GIO GETS IT GOING
Urshela had a splendid afternoon at the hot corner with the glove and his bare hand. During the home half of the fifth inning, his bat helped regain the lead with a two-run homer to left off Diego Castillo.
Where was Chad Green? Apparently he was available and hadn’t pitched since Aug. 16 but he wouldn’t enter this game. Adam Ottavino had a rare bad outing, allowing three runs. Making believe Luis Avilan is Damaso Marte didn’t work either, two more runs later in the sixth inning.
Jonathan Holder worked two scoreless frames but Luis Cessa yielded a two-run homer to Diaz in the ninth inning.
Highly dubious moves indeed.
At 16-9, the Yankees were supposed to travel across town to face the New York Mets on Friday evening for a three-game series. Yet, a couple of the Mets messed around and tested positive for COVID-19 in Miami. Hence, we’ll see when they play next, if at all this weekend.