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Game 101: Bad and Boring

What can you even say about a game like this? Bad.  Terrible.  0/10 do not recommend.  Turn off your TV and go outside.  The Yankees once again failed to sweep a series after taking the first two games, and are now 4-10 in sweep opportunities on the season after falling to Tampa Bay 14-0.  To the takeaways:

Gerrit Cole was bad, then good, then bad again.  This game almost got out of hand before a single out was recorded.  On Cole’s first pitch, Brandon Lowe hit a bomb over the foul pole which was originally called a home run; the umpires then convened and ruled it foul.  Kevin Cash challenged, but it seemed like the Yankees got a break to open up the game as the foul call stood.  However, Lowe wound up reaching on an infield single, Cole then walked Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz hit an RBI single, and Austin Meadows hit a 3-run home run to put the Rays up by 4 before you had a chance to blink.  Really not what you want when your ace is on the mound going for a sweep.

Cole settled down after that, recording two strikeouts per inning in the second through the fifth.  He struck out 10 overall in 5.1 innings before things really fell apart in the 6th – the 6th inning was so horrific it deserves its own header, so we’ll get to that later.

It was obvious from the jump that Cole wasn’t on today, and specifically couldn’t locate his breaking pitches at all.  His resurgence in the second through fifth inning was courtesy of his fastball, which he peppered throughout the strike zone, but his lack of secondary pitches led to a bad day on the mound.

The Yankees are now only 10-11 in games started by Gerrit Cole, even as, today’s clunker aside, he’s mostly pitched to the back of his ace-like baseball card. 

Sixth Inning Scaries.   The sixth inning started uneventfully, as Cole got Diaz to ground out leading off the inning.  He then gave up a few singles to Meadows and Randy Arozarena, and walked Wander Franco.  Kevin Kiermaier hit a fly ball which Brett Gardner dropped in left field – a run likely would have scored on a sac fly if the play had been made, but two runs scored on the error and took the game from a manageable 4-0 to 6-0. 

Aaron Boone then yanked Cole, who had thrown 105 pitches, and brought in Albert Abreu, who opened the floodgates.   He walked Mike Zunino on four pitches, and Brett Phillips hit a grand slam to bring the score to 10-0.  He issued another walk to Lowe, and served up a home run to Choi.  Not satisfied with a 12-0 lead, Diaz singled, and Meadows hit another home run to make it 14-0.  Abreu, who got no outs and gave up six runs on four hits and two walks, was mercifully removed and Sal Romano was able to get out of the inning.

Maybe an inning that horrific has happened to the Yankees in recent memory, but if it has, I’ve blocked it out.  I hope to do the same with this one.

Offense goes silent.  I haven’t mentioned anything about the Yankees’ offense yet because there was truly nothing to mention.  The Yankees had absolutely nothing against the Rays’ 21-year-old starter Luis Patiño. They got only four hits (three against Patiño over his six innings of work) and struck out ten times.  Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Estevan Florial, and Gardner all recorded singles, and the team only had three opportunities with runners in scoring position all day.  Even Joey Gallo couldn’t have fixed this.

Leftovers

  • DJ LeMahieu’s 37-game on base streak was snapped today as he went 0-for-4 and did not walk.
  • Gleyber Torres extended his hit streak to 11 games.
  • Giancarlo Stanton struck out three times and has now struck out 21 times in 46 at bats since the All Star Break, a 46% K rate.
  • Clay Holmes made his Yankees debut in the 9th and pitched a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout.
  • The Yankees are now 13-24 in day games.
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Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview: July 27-29

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I think we are officially at the point in the season where every game and every series is a must-win for the Yankees, and it doesn’t really matter who it’s against. They are 3.5 games back of the second wildcard spot, so wins are imperative and the fact that the series is against a team that the Yankees are “chasing” is secondary; the should-be rival Tampa Bay Rays are 8 games ahead of New York and one back of Boston.  After a deflating series against the Red Sox, the Yankees are once again hoping for the tide to turn as they head to the Trop.

Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview: May 31 to June 3

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There’s no such thing as a must-win game or series at this juncture of the season, but this is a pretty important four games upcoming against the Rays. Tampa Bay comes to the Bronx as the hottest team in the league, while the Yankees are returning home after an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Tigers this weekend. Here’s the latest on Tampa Bay:

Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview: May 11 to 13

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Here we go again. The Yankees (18-16) and Rays (19-17) square up for a third series this season, starting tonight at Tropicana Field. The first two meetings haven’t gone so well for the Bombers. Tampa Bay took two of three at home and then swept a three game series at Yankee Stadium in mid-April. There’s no other way to put it: the Rays have beaten up on the Yankees not only this year, but in recent seasons as well.

On the bright side, it’s a new series and the Yankees have been better of late. Since these two teams last met, the Yankees are 13-6. The Yankees can start to change the narrative with a good performance against the Rays this week, particularly since it’s on the road and in a ballpark no one likes to play in.

Tampa Bay Rays Series Preview: April 16 to April 18

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Kevin Kiermaier (along with other members of the Rays) are none too happy with the Yankees after last weekend. He spoke at length about it after the end of the series in which the Rays won two of three. Yankees pitchers hit Tampa Bay hitters four times in the series, including some high and tight. Intentional or not, that’s understandably scary. And it’s not like there’s already bad blood carrying over from the past few years.

These two sides meet again this weekend, leaving very little time for either side too cool off. Tensions should still be high once the first pitch is thrown on Friday, and there’s always a chance of a spillover at Yankee Stadium. Let’s hope not, but given the history between these two sides, it’s pretty much to be expected. Aaron Boone’s hope is that the past is left in the past:

“I know we hit a few guys in the last series. I get their frustration with that but that’s not for us to get caught up into right now. We’ve got to go out and play good baseball. We’ve got another good team coming to town to kick off a home stand. It’s important that we don’t get caught up in that, we need to put our best foot forward and play good baseball. That will be our focus on Friday.”

Obviously, it’d be best for the Yankees to let their play doing the talking in this rivalry. Especially given the club’s stumble out of the gate. There’s no better time than now.

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