After the way things went down on Friday and Saturday, it feels like a minor miracle that the Yankees escaped this four-game series with a split. They needed 12 innings and five (really six counting Vidal Nuno) relievers to beat the Rays 5-1 on Sunday afternoon. The good news is that the Yankees do not return to Tropicana Field until the middle of August, so we don’t have to see this house of horrors for another few months.
I didn’t see any of the game because I was out visiting family for Easter, but I did watch the highlights and flip through the play-by-play. That Dean Anna walk in the 12th inning looked like one hell of an at-bat, so I pulled it up on MLB.tv and sure enough, it was one hell of an at-bat. Nine total pitches, including three foul balls after being down 1-2 in the count. Great job by Anna. I’m so happy intentionally walking the bases loaded blew up in Joe Maddon’s face. By WPA (+.325), the walk was the Yankees’ biggest offensive play of the season by frickin’ far.
Nuno gave the Yankees exactly what they needed in his spot start, twirling five shutout innings and holding Tampa to three hits and two walks. He struck out six. A parade of relievers blew the one-run lead but otherwise held the Rays to three hits and three walks in seven innings. Big ups to Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley, and Preston Claiborne for holding down the fort with multiple innings of work. After the last few days, this collective bullpen performance was very welcome.
From what I understand, there was some controversy on a would-be Brett Gardner triple that was ruled a ground-rule double. I guess Wil Myers trapped the ball against the wall, or something like that. I also understand the infield defense was a mess, and the three errors back that up. The Yankees fell victim to the new (and stupid) transfer rule for the first time in the seventh, when Brian Roberts bobbled the potential double play ball. The new rule says the fielder needs to catch the ball and make a clean transfer for an out. Supposedly that will soon change and go back to the way it was, as it should.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Apologies for the lack of an in-depth recap, but family and the holiday. You know how it is. The Yankees are off on Monday — Ivan Nova’s partially torn UCL will be re-evaluated — and will then head to Boston for a three-game series against the Red Sox. Masahiro Tanaka and Jon Lester will start that series on Tuesday night. Fun!