Rays beat Yanks to tie Sox for AL Wildcard


Best loss  of the season? Best loss of the season. I can’t believe I’m saying such a thing, but with everything already clinched, I have no issues with the Yankees losing a game so the Rays could tie the Red Sox for the wildcard lead with two games left in the season. This is pretty amazing, folks.

Don't worry Hector, you did good. (J. Meric/Getty Images)


Hector Noesi has done a really nice job for the  Yankees this season, but the only problem is that the vast majority of his work has come in low-leverage relief spots. Because of that, it’s not much of a surprise that he looked completely gassed after his pitch count crept north of 40-45 or so. Noesi allowed three runs on five hits and two walks in two innings and change, throwing 59 pitches. Tough spot for the kid, but what can you do. His overall body of work has been encouraging this season.

Raul Valdes relieved him and retired two of the three lefties he faced. The one exception was Johnny Damon, who pulled an outside slider through the right side of the infield for a ground ball single. Good process, bad result. Since coming to New York, Valdes has faced a total of 14 left-handed batters, and he’s given up four hits (one double, the rest singles) and struck out five. There’s talk that he could make the postseason roster, but I have no interest in seeming them carry a second LOOGY in the playoffs unless it’s a legit shutdown guy (which they don’t have). Joe Girardi won’t be able to help himself with the matchups, and having an inferior pitcher (like Valdes) out there in a potentially big spot just because he happens to throw with the correct arm isn’t in the team’s best interests.

Back To The Bullpen

With his inflamed back keeping him out of action for the last two weeks or so, Phil Hughes returned to the Yankees as a reliever in this game. It’s hard, if not impossible to differentiate between what was rust and what was Hughes  being Hughes, but the end result is that he threw 36 pitches across 1.2 IP, allowing one hit (a double) and two walks against two strikeouts. His fastball velocity was in the 92-94 range, so no significant spike. Girardi indicated that Hughes might pitch again Wednesday, but I’m not sure that will happen after this pitch count. I bet Phil makes the ALDS roster, but he almost certainly shouldn’t.

(J. Meric/Getty Images)


The entire Yankees offense was basically Robinson Cano. He hit a first inning solo homer to dead center and then singled in another run in the third, going 2-for-4 on the day. The other ten hitters (counting a defensive replacement and a pinch-hitter) went a combined 4-for-27. Jamie Shields has been shutting the Yankees down all season, nothing was different in his final regular season start of 2011.

How about home plate ump Paul Schrieber showing up Russell Martin during that fifth inning ejection? No, you can’t argue balls and strikes, but Schrieber stopped play, walked in front of the plate, and got in Martin’s face. That’s definitely over the line. If you’re going to toss a guy, then toss him. Don’t make a spectacle out of it. I’m sure Schrieber will be disciplined in a timely manner. (nope)

Oh, and speaking of Martin, I sure hope someone gave him a stern talking to after he slid head-first into first to beat out an infield single in the second inning. Everything’s clinched already, why risk  some broken fingers? Playing smart > playing hard.

Get this, Jorge Posada made not one, but two nice defensive plays throwing runners out at the plate in the first three innings. He’s really going out with a bang; the game-winning hit in the AL East clinching game, the homer off Wakefield on Sunday, and now the two plays in this game. Neat stuff.

Obviously the Red Sox lost to the Orioles, allowing the Rays to tie them for the wildcard. In other out of town news, the  Tigers walloped Cleveland, so if the Rangers win tonight, they’ll remain one loss up on Detroit. If they lose, the two teams will have the same record. This is important because the Yankees will face whichever team finishes with the worse record in the ALDS. If they finish with the same record,  it’ll be Yanks-Rangers  because Detroit won the season series over Texas. The Rangers are playing the Angels out on the west coast right now, and you can follow that game here.

And finally: holy Desmond Jennings! When Derek Jeter doesn’t hit .300 this year, that will be why. What a catch.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Box Score has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerdy stuff, and ESPN the updated standings. You don’t really need to check them, the Yankees are still in first.

Up Next

The second to last game of the season, that’s what’s up next. Bartolo Colon will start against Jeremy Hellickson on Tuesday night. Another loss would not be upsetting. At all.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. mbonzo says:

    I just hope the best team wins in the wild card. The last thing I want to see is the 163rd game end in a blown call again.

  2. Avi says:

    The Red Sox are paying roughly $84,000,000.00 to Lackey, Crawford, Drew, Dice-k*, Cameron and Jenks this year. Which is more than the entire payroll of 13 teams: the Astros, A’s, Blue jays, Brewers, D-backs, Indians, Marlins, Nationals, Padres, Pirates, Reds, Rockies and Royals.
    Those small market gritty grinders with a genius GM.. I LOVE IT!
    *I prorated the $50MM posting fee for Dice-K over the 6 years of his contract. It’s actually more when you consider they had to pay it upfront in one lump sum instead of over 6 years.

  3. mustang says:

    Sox have a historical collapse and what’s the lead MLB story on ESPN the Ozzie firing.

    It’s not even worth bringing it up anymore.

  4. Jesse says:

    My favorite part: “Silent John W. Henry, who hasn’t been heard from at all during this hellacious month, is liking soccer more each day.”

    • mustang says:

      The best part is how Ellsbury’s HR last night basically handed him the MVP and tonight the ball just popped out is glove.

      Just fucking classic!

  5. CUYanks says:

    Looks like the pool for the 2011 World Championship will be down to 10 in a few minutes…

  6. Freddy Garcia's 86 mph Heat says:

    Gary Thorne with the insanely dramatic call:

  7. Finster says:

    Wow, cant believe the Sox collapsed like this…I really cant. They are in a really bad spot, they havent won 2 in a row this month and the odds of the Yankees winning 1 of the next 2 against the Rays are almsot none. Yankees are probably playing Half the starters again tommmorow and probably none of the big 3 relievers if they have a lead. Then pure AAA on Wednesday. IF the Sox want it, they are gona have to win the next 2 to force a 1 game playoff. IF the sox do manage to make it to the playoffs, I dont even want to know what their pitching staff is going to look like…They are fucked.

    • Jesse says:

      I wouldn’t be shocked if they used their three main relievers tomorrow just to get them a little bit of work. Of course they will not be used on the final day of the season, but it’d be nice to use them so they’d have just two days of rest and not four. But it wouldn’t be the end of the world if none of them went. Whatever.

    • forensic says:

      Girardi has already said he’ll use all three big relievers tomorrow and then give them two days off before the first two consecutive days of the postseason.

  8. MikeD says:

    I couldn’t agree more regarding Valdes. I keep hoping he explodes and gives up ten runs when he stands on the mound, eliminating any thought of bringing him.

  9. TampaYankee says:

    With the way the Sox are just imploding, wouldn’t we rather have them in the playoffs? I think both the Rangers and Tigers can beat either the Rays or Sox, but I’m not sure.

    Part of it may be I live in the Tampa area and hate the Rays so much. Their fans are pathetic bandwagoners that I’d love to see shut up.

    I hate both teams, but having to deal with their fans makes me want the Rays to miss the playoffs to shut these idiots up.

  10. Gonzo says:

    How can a team with 3 MVPS’s and five aces be this bad?

    Savoring the moment.

  11. Bavarian Yankee says:

    clearly the best loss of the season. Let’s hope we lose 2 more.
    I didn’t like that we really tried so hard to win, we could’ve easily given up more “unfortunate” runs.

  12. D-Rob's Great Escape says:

    A little dissapointed to see TX win again, it looks like they’ll end up with the 2 seed because I don’t expect much fight left in the Angels after just being officially eliminated. The matchups with TX suit NY better then DET but oh well other then that it was a good baseball night.

    In regards to the WC races I am really hoping both the NL and AL end in a tie, as a baseball fan when your teams not involved there a joy to whatch.

  13. Monteroisdinero says:

    Random thoughts on last night:

    Chavez could have stopped Upton’s gb double down the line with a dive-maybe in his younger days

    Saltalacrappia is truly awful. On the inside the parker he would have had Andino out by 20 feet if he had just gone out 2 steps to catch the ball on the fly. Truly bad instincts. He is like Nunez behind the plate.

  14. mustang says:

    “One night you’re cheering Ellsbury and screaming at your TV and jumping off your couch late on a Sunday night when he hits a 14th-inning home run; the next night, you’re sick to your stomach. ”


  15. mustang says:

    “That’s what baseball does to you. One night you’re cheering Ellsbury and screaming at your TV and jumping off your couch late on a Sunday night when he hits a 14th-inning home run; the next night, you’re sick to your stomach.”


  16. CountryClub says:

    The strike zone was God awful all night and you can chalk up both of the Hughes walks to it. As a matter of fact, those walks are what started the whole Martin/ump thing.

    Anyway, the Desmond Jennings catch pisses me off. I also can’t believe the Sox actually blew the lead. I must admit that I never expected them to actually gak it up.

  17. Tiny Tim says:

    Hellickson and Price against Colon and TBA. Sox best chance for us to win a game is tonight as we’ll use our best relievers one last time and field a decent lineup.

    I’m not sure the Sox will even win one of their games vs the Os. Bedard has been a bust and Lester will be on 3 days rest. If they even get to Thursday they have to throw Lackey on 3 days rest or Wakefield against Niemann or Matt Moore. It’s over for Boston.

    • CountryClub says:

      You’re most likely right. But I wouldnt be surprised to see the Yanks win tonight. The A pen guys are pitching, so if Colon gives them a good game the yanks will have every chance to win.

      Most likely scenario is a Thursday playoff game, and despite the pitching advantage, anything can happen in one game.

      • gc says:

        I know everyone around here is all for seeing the Yankees drop another two games here, but I really would like to see Colon pitch well today.

        • Bavarian Yankee says:

          so let’s lose 1-0, bring in Betances in the bottom of the 9th to walk the bases loaded and the walk in the winning run :D

    • Yank The Frank says:

      This is turning into a really great week.

  18. Jose M. Vazquez.. says:

    Phil Hughes just does not look 100%. Last night the outs he got were hard hit. His control was off. he hit 94 once. He clearly has to be shut down treated and he will come back in good condition next Spring. Yankee fans should not give up on him. He is only 25.Shields is 28 and now is when he is getting good after a few mediocre years.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      Phil’s off speed repertoire is poor and his fastball at 93mph is straight as an arrow. Not optimistic currently.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Thank you captain obvious. I mean come on, everyone sees that. The questions are why? and how likely is he to fix it in the future?

        Jose’s point, which I think has merit as a theory, is that Hughes still may not be healthy. The reason I buy into it besides the huge decrease in stuff is that he short-arms the ball. He’s throwing the ball from his ear. I can’t see too much merit in pitching that way other than your shoulder hurting when using a full-motion. Perhaps it’s meant to reduce the moving parts and aid command… but that motion has got to go this off-season one way or another.

        • Monteroisdinero says:

          Thanks for your warm comments Ted. Anyway, if Phil is short arming the ball because he is, after a gazillion months, still not healthy….he is short changing us and that……


  19. Vocabularry says:

    As a Yankees Fan, it’s great to see the Red Sox incur so much pain and suffering. Their Fans wish us the same–only double.
    With that said, there is some potential downside to the Red Sox/Rays struggle to make the playoffs, including having a Thursday Game to make it. It allows for whatever team not meeting the Yankees in the first round to quite possibly having an easy go of it against the Red Sox/Rays qualifier and thereby setting themselves up to be well rested and having their pitching rotation in order if the Yankeees take care of business and go on to the ALCS. On paper, it would be the most desirable match-up for anyone in the first round.
    Sometimes the things you wish for aren’t always the things that are the best for you.

    • Tiny Tim says:

      Yeah, the Rays will either have to go Neimann/Moore in game 1 or Shields on 3 days rest. Boston would probably go Beckett in game 1 over Lackey/Wakefield. Lester has to pitch Wed. now so he won’t be able to go until game 3. Texas keeps winning and they’ll certainly be rewarded by avoiding us.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      Maybe but I refuse to let this theory dampen my enjoyment of Red Sox September baseball!

      Is Saltalacrappia done for the year? Did he get hit by one of his own pitcher’s pitches?

    • And also it’s impossible to predict the playoffs, so even thinking about any potential downside to a Sox/Rays struggle is silly.

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