It really stinks when things don’t go according to plan. The Yankees had won five straight heading into Friday’s series opener against the Rays and they had Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, their best pitcher and one of the very best in baseball this year. Instead of continuing to roll, they hit a speed bump and were overmatched by Tampa. Let’s recap the 7-2 loss:
- HRiok: After going almost 60 innings without allowing a homer, Kuroda surrendered four (!) in six innings on Friday night. The Rays punished him for seven runs on nine hits and one walk in six innings. He should have been out of the game in the fifth innings or so, but Joe Girardi opted to run his best pitcher into the ground rather than overwork the sixth and seventh relievers in the bullpen. Yuck. Fouling back-to-back rough outings, I wonder if Kuroda might be hitting the same late-season wall he hit late last year. I hope not, the Yankees can’t afford it.
- Sterling: For the second time in about a month, Chris Archer shut New York down. He didn’t throw another complete-game shutout on Friday, but he did limit them to two runs on four hits and two walks in seven innings. Six of the 27 batters he faced managed to hit the ball out of the infield on the fly. Brett Gardner created both runs by using his speed to get to third base — single, stolen base, moved up on a fly ball, then a triple — before someone (Alfonso Soriano single, Robinson Cano ground out) drove him in. Archer’s night ended when new Ray David DeJesus made a nice running grab at the wall on a Chris Stewart line drive with two on in the seventh.
- Leftovers: Joba Chamberlain retired all six (!) batters he faced after Girardi mercifully pulled Kuroda … Gardner had two hits and a walk while Eduardo Nunez had two hits, otherwise no one reached base more than once … Gardner was picked off first and doubled off first on a Curtis Granderson fly ball. Making two outs at first after safely reaching base really sucks … Kuroda tied a career-high with four homers allowed.
MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles beat the Athletics, so the Yankees remain four games back of Oakland for the second wildcard spot. Cool Standings has New York’s postseason odds at 12.2%. CC Sabathia and David Price square off in battle of Cy Young winning southpaws in game two of this three-game series on Saturday night.