Light-hitting Rene Rivera drove in four runs for the Tampa Bay Rays in their win over the Yankees

Chase Whitley

Chase Whitley

The Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 on Thursday night at Tropicana Field, and after winning the first game of the series, they lost the next three. A major reason that they lost the last three games of the series is that they combined to score only five runs in those three losses. The Yankees didn’t do anything well offensively or defensively in the loss on Thursday.

Chase Whitley was only able to pitch 1.2 innings before being taken out of the game due to elbow issues. He was likely more wild than normal because of the issue with his elbow. He threw a changeup that was nowhere near Brian McCann and went all the way to the backstop. He allowed two hits, two walks and three earned runs because the two runners that were on base when he left the game were charged to him.

It seems likely that Whitley will need Tommy John surgery based on the situation. He would have been been replaced when Masahiro Tanaka returned to the rotation anyway, but this injury to Whitley will hurt the team’s depth at starter, especially since he had showed signs of improvement from last season. “It’s in that area that you don’t want to talk about,” Joe Girardi said.

Esmil Rogers, who came into the game after Whitley was taken out after being looked at by the trainer, allowed a three-run homer to Rene Rivera on the first pitch that Rivera saw. Rivera came into the game with a .126 average and only five RBIs, but he was able to go 2-4 with four RBIs against the Yankees in this game.

Rivera, who was hitting ninth in the lineup and is known more for his defense, was not someone the Yankees expected to hurt them coming into the game. He had gone 0-6 in the two other games he played in this series, but that slump didn’t prevent him from hitting his second homer of his season. “The kid may have been looking for the pitch,” Girardi said. “He swung hard and hit it.”

Rivera’s second hit of the night was a single up the middle to center that scored David DeJesus to make the score 5-0. Evan Longoria, who has owned the Yankees the last few years, hit a single to left to drive in Steven Souza Jr. in the seventh inning off of Chasen Shreve. Shreve has pitched well overall in his first season with the Yankees as his ERA is now only 2.70, but he was one of many Yankees who did not perform well on Thursday.

The only run that the Yankees scored came off of a homer to right by Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning. They were 0-4 with runners in scoring position and didn’t hit any extra-base hits besides that home run.

The hits only came from the top of the lineup, which makes it difficult to score runs. Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez combined to go 5-11, but the rest of the lineup did not have a single hit in 19 at-bats.

As a result of their three-game losing streak to the Rays, the Yankees now only have a one-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East. The Yankees will look to hit better and get back in the win column in Kansas City on Friday with Michael Pineda pitching.

Pineda, who has a 2.72 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, is the ace of the rotation right now and recorded 16 strikeouts in his previous start, which is the second most in a single game by a righty in Yankees history. His 54 strikeouts are third in the American League and his five wins are also tied for second in the league.

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