This had all the feel of a game that would be decided by some scrub hitting a solo home run in the late innings, and you just had to hope your scrub hit it. Instead, one of their scrubs hit it, and the Yankees lost Tuesday’s game 2-1 to the Rays. Frustrating loss is frustrating.
Sonny With No Chance Of Runs
For the fifth time in Sonny Gray’s eight starts as a Yankee, the offense scored no more than one run. They did score one run Tuesday night, but that’s all. It came in the very first inning. Aaron Judge drew a walk and Matt Holliday doubled him home with line drive that I’d guess most non-Corey Dickerson left fielders catch. It looked like it hung up long enough, but Dickerson made an awkward slide and the ball got under him. His defense is not good.
That Holliday double was the last time the Yankees had runner reach second base. For real. Todd Frazier drew a one-out walk in the fifth and didn’t advance. Brett Gardner ripped a leadoff single in the sixth and didn’t advance. Chase Headley lined a one-out single in the seventh and didn’t advance. And that was it. The Yankees had three baserunners after Holliday’s double and none made it beyond first base. Tampa’s pitchers retired the last eight batters they faced and 12 of the last 13 batters they faced. Gross. The Yankees scored 60 runs in their previous eight games going into Tuesday night. Then they fell completely flat.
Poor Sonny. What did this dude do to deserve no run support? He now has a 2.66 ERA in eight starts and 50.2 innings with the Yankees … and they’ve won three of his starts. Good grief. Gray allowed a solo home run on his first pitch of the night (Kevin Kiermaier) and a solo home run on his 90th pitch of the night (Adeiny Hechavarria), and that was enough for the loss. Baseball can be so stupid sometimes. Sonny gets charged with the L but screw that. He’s the last Yankee who deserves an L for this game.
The final pitching line: 8 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. The biggest jam came in the fifth inning, when the Rays had the runners at the corners with one out. Gray bounced back to fan Hechavarria and Kiermaier to escape the jam. He let out a little fist pump after Kiermaier went down swinging. I’m not really sure what else there is to say here. Gray was fantastic and has been fantastic pretty much every time out since the trade. The Yankees have been trying to acquire someone like this for years. Now they have him, and it is glorious.
The bullpen was a little short Tuesday night because the late inning guys have worked a lot recently, so Gray’s complete game (loss) was welcome. Tommy Kahnle warmed up in the eighth, though he tossed the ball more than really get hot. Had the Yankees taken the lead in the top of the ninth, I wonder if Sonny would’ve gone out for the bottom half. His pitch count was at 94 and he was great all night. Alas.
A Dickerson-aided double for Holliday, singles for Gardner and Headley, and walks for Judge and Frazier. That’s all the offense right there. Clint Frazier returned the lineup for the first time since his oblique injury and went 0-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch-hitter, though he hit the ball hard both times. His line out to right field in the fifth might’ve landed in the short porch. Again, alas.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, head over to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and FanGraphs has the postseason odds, if you’re into such things. We have a Bullpen Workload page. Here’s the win probability graph:
The Yankees and Rays will wrap up this neutral site series at Citi Field on Wednesday afternoon. That’s a 1:10pm ET start. Jaime Garcia will make his hopefully triumphant return to the rotation in that one. He hasn’t pitched since August 31st, in the first game of the doubleheader against the Indians. Chris Archer will be on the mound for Tampa Bay.