Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Yanks Hit, Then Stop Hitting, In Tampa Bay


So after taking 3 of 4 at home against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees headed down to St. Petersburg to take on the dessicated, Joe Maddon-less husk of the Tampa Bay Rays.

CC Sabathia hadn't won a game yet, his 0-5 record reflecting a little bit of poor pitching, and a little bit of good pitching not backed up by much hitting. The Big Fella did his job: 7 innings, 4 runs (3 earned), 6 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts.

This time, he got the run support. Alex Rodriguez hit his 8th home run of the season, the 662nd of his career. Chase Headley hit a home run, his 4th of the season. Carlos Beltran hit a home run, his 2nd of the season (and in as many games). Brett Gardner hit a home run, his 3rd of the season. And Mark Teixeira hit a home run, his 11th Teix Message of the season. So that's 5 homers, 3 by guys who were "old" and "washed-up" according to Met fans, Red Sox fans, the national media, and other Yankee Haters. Headley also had an RBI on a sacrifice fly.

Yankees 11, Rays 5. WP: Sabathia (1-5). No save. LP: Alex Colome (2-1). Attendance: 10,619. Pathetic. I've been to high school football games with bigger crowds than that -- and I don't live in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or the South.

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For the Tuesday night game, the Yankees sent out Nathan Eovaldi, who had won his 1st 3 decisions. He looked good again, cruising through the 1st 6 innings, with a 2-0 lead thanks to back-to-back 1st inning singles by Brian McCann and Beltran.

But, this time, Joe Girardi's fealty to pitch counts worked the other way. He saw that Eovaldi hadn't thrown too many pitches, so he left him in. Big mistake: He allowed 2 runs in the 7th, and 2 more in the 8th to lose it.

It's worth noting that the Yankees had a man on 2nd with nobody out in the 1st, men on 1st and 3rd with 2 out in the 2nd, a man on 1st with 2 out in the 4th, a man on 1st with 1 out in the 8th, and a man on 1st with 1 out in the 9th. None of those men were brought around to score.

Rays 4, Yankees 2. WP: Kevin Jepsen (1-2). SV: Brad Boxberger (9). LP: Eovaldi (3-1). Attendance: 10,417. What, did they only open 11,000 seats, because they thought that was all they could sell? Can they no longer even get ex-New Yorkers to show up and watch the Yankees play the Rays?

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The Wednesday night game was even more frustrating. Another one of those games where you wish the Yankees hadn't wasted all those runs in a recent game.

Adam Warren pitched much better than his last outing, going 7 full, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and just 1 walk, striking out 7. That should have been enough to win, if the lineup had done its job.

It didn't. Back-to-back 1st inning singles by Teixeira and McCann gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead before the Strays even got to bat. But that was it. Lots of missed opportunities.

None worse than the top of the 5th. With 2 out, Teix beat out an infield single. McCann singled into the hole. And Beltran singled to center. But Teix was thrown out at the plate. Girardi challenged the call, but it was upheld.

Rays 3, Yankees 2. WP: Nate Karns (3-1). SV: Boxberger (10). LP: Warren (2-2). Attendance: 11,924.

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Then came the Thursday night game. Chase Whitley got hurt, and had to come out in the 2nd inning, and went on the Disabled List. Girardi brought  Esmil Rogers in to relieve him, and this Mr. Rogers once again proved he can only pitch well in the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

A-Rod hit his 9th home run of the season, and he, Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury (twice) added singles. That was it for the Yankee offense.

Rays 6, Yankees 1. Attendance: 11,977.

Think about that: The 4 games combined had an attendance of 44,927 -- barely enough to fill Tropicana Field, not enough to fill the new, smaller version of Yankee Stadium. Jeez, move to Montreal already!

The Yankees moved on to Kansas City. I'll discuss that series in my next post.

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