The Rays came to the Bronx to deliver a message and did so loudly and clearly. By sweeping two games from the Yankees, the Rays not only outplayed them, but outclassed them as well. It’s only May, but until the Yankees get healthy, if they ever do, the AL East appears to be the Rays division to lose.
Like yesterday, the Rays jumped on the Yankees from the get-go, scoring three runs in the first before an out was recorded. This time, however, the Yankees didn’t wait until the end of the game to put up a fight. In the bottom of the second, Juan Miranda’s two run homer deep into the right field stands cut the deficit to 3-2, but the Yankees real opportunity to take control of the game occurred in the third. After Randy Winn led off with a single, Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner both reached on perfectly placed bunt singles, the latter of which created a run when James Shield threw wildly down the first base line. With the game now tied and runners on second and third, the Yankees were poised to take the lead. However, Shields induced a weak groundout from Teixeira and then struck out Arod and Cano to strand both runners. With the state of the Yankees lineup, such a feeble showing by the healthy middle of the order was a disastrous end to the inning.
The two teams traded runs in the fourth inning (the Yankees run was the result of BJ Upton losing a Miranda fly ball in the early evening sky), but then the Rays pulled away in the middle innings. Andy Pettitte tried to keep the Yankees in the game, but he lacked the command that defined his 5-0 start. Although he threw a sufficient amount of strikes (65 of 103 to be exact), Pettitte left too many pitches over the plate and paid the price. Before his night was over, Pettitte wound up surrendering seven runs for easily his worst start of the season.
Perhaps the lone bright spot for the Yankees was a dominant two inning relief performance by David Robertson, who struck out four of the six batters he faced. Unfortunately, Chan Ho Park did little to offer similar encouragement. Park surrendered yet another home run in his brief Yankee career and helped to thwart any chance for a comeback.
As they often do, the Yankees did get off the deck in the ninth. After Derek Jeter doubled home two runs off Rays closer Rafael Soriano, Gardner came to the plate as the tying run, but grounded out meekly to third base, ending the game and sending the Rays home with a rare Yankee Stadium sweep.
As the Rays leave town with a healthy five game lead, the Yankees now find themselves closer to the fourth place Red Sox than to first place. The Subway Series is next up for the Yankees, but one wonders if their embarrassing showing against the Rays will lead to a letdown over the weekend. Regardless, the Yankees need to stop the bleeding fast or they’ll soon find themselves looking up at most of the division.
- Last season, Chan Ho Park did not surrender a single homerun as a reliever. This season he has surrendered five, including at least one in four of his five outings.
- Derek Jeter’s three hit game was his first since April 30.
- Andy Pettitte’s pick-off of Ben Zobrist in the third inning was the 98th of his career, the most by any pitcher since the stat was first maintained.
- During the game, Major League Baseball president and COO Bob DuPuy announced that the Yankees protest of their Tuesday loss against Boston was denied.