The Yankees lost to the Rays on 6-1 on Tuesday for their fifth loss in their last six games. The Yankees have now only scored seven runs in their previous six games, which has been a major reason for all of the losses.
Tuesday’s game stands out because it was the fifth time that a Yankee had been hit in the last four games by the Rays. Joe Girardi was so frustrated that after Derek Jeter was hit on the wrist in the eighth he was thrown out of the game. “Five times in four games we have been hit,” Girardi said. “Twice in the elbow, once in the chin, a ball at Gardy’s head last night, another ball at Chase’s ribs last night. I am all for pitching inside, but you got to know how to pitch inside, because it is extremely dangerous. Chase Headley is lucky that he is OK. I don’t know what they expect.”
Jeter and Headley have both been hit twice since Sept. 9 and Brian McCann has been hit once. “No one likes to get hit,” Jeter said. Obviously when it happens it’s unfortunate; when it happens a lot, then yeah, people get frustrated.”
After Jeter was hit in the eighth both benches were warned, which led to umpire Rob Drake ejecting Girardi, Tony Pena and David Phelps from the game. Phelps was ejected when he sent a fastball near Kevin Kiermaier’s chin to the backstop in the eighth. Drake ruled this intentional even though Phelps was only making his second appearance since August 3. This also caused Pena to be ejected since he was the acting manager with Girardi out of the game.
The game was close through the sixth inning as the Rays only had a 2-1 lead at that point. Michael Pineda rebounded well from his last start since he only allowed one run in 5.1 innings. He was not able to give the team much length since he had 100 pitches when he was taken out. Pineda has now allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his 10 starts this season giving him an impressive 2.15 ERA.
The only run that the Yankees scored in the game came off of a single by Ichrio Suzuki that scored Chris Young in the second inning off of Jake Odorizzi. The Yankees had seven hits and two walks but were only 1-10 with runners in scoring position. Brett Gardner and Brian McCann, the three and four hitters counted on to drive in runs, were both 0-4 and McCann grounded into a double play with Jeter on first in the eighth. In the seventh inning, after Antoan Richardson stole second, Brendan Ryan and Jacoby Ellsbury both lined out to the outfield in consecutive at-bats.
The Yankees relief pitchers fell apart in the seventh inning as three pitchers combined to allow four runs on four hits. Three of those runs were charged to Esmil Rogers and the fourth was charged to Rich Hill. The Rays scored their first run of the seventh when the dangerous Evan Longoria hit a single that sent Ben Zobrist home and David DeJesus to second. DeJesus’s single to right advanced Zobrist to second. Hill gave up two consecutive singles to James Loney and Nick Franklin, which led to DeJesus scoring the second run of the inning.
A play that is barely ever seen happened with Wil Myers hitting and Phelps pitching. Myers hit a sac fly to center and Longoria scored from third and Loney scored from second. Part of the reason they both scored was that Ellsbury had to dive to make the catch. Girardi likely protested the game after this play.
In an almost fitting ending to the drama-filled game, Brendan Ryan struck out swinging with runners on first and second.
The only memorable part of the game besides Pineda’s performance was that Jeter was honored before the game with a ceremony. Jeter does not have a hit in his last 26 at-bats, but will likely remember and enjoy the kayak in Yankee colors with the No. 2 on it and a framed Rays jersey of Tampa Bay senior advisor Don Zimmer, who died last year. Jeter developed a clos relationship with Zimmer while he was the bench coach with the Yankees and would touch him for good luck.
In Jeter’s final game at Tropicana Field, on Wednesday, Alex Cobb will start for the Rays and Brandon McCarthy will pitch for the Yankees. McCarthy has allowed two runs or less in six of his last eight starts, and he allowed zero runs in three of those eight starts.
The Yankees (55-50) were able to get a much needed win against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon, which prevented a sweep to their American League East rivals. The game was highlighted by Derek Jeter’s return from the disabled list and Alfonso Soriano’s first homer during his second stint with the Yankees.
The 6-5 victory means that the Yankees are now only 2.5 games behing the Rays and the Baltimore Orioles for the Wild-Card. Ichiro Suzuki, who had four hits and an RBI, said that the Yankees are basically a new team now with the additions of Jeter and Soriano to the lineup. That is definitely the truth because they now have a another power bat to combine with Cano in the middle of the lineup and another hitter in Jeter who can hit one out of the park and be counted on for a clutch hit. These two former teammates allowed the Yankees to bust out of a long power outage.
Also, Hideki Matsui, who had a great tenure for the Yankees from 2003 until 2009, where he was a great teammate, drove in more than 100 runs for times, and was the MVP of the World Series championship in 2009, signed a one-day minor league contract so that he could officially retire as a Yankee. He always gave all out effort and never wanted to take a day off which is why Derek Jeter said that he was one of his favorite teammates in an interview.
After his on field ceremony, and previous official contract signing in a conference room at the stadium, Matsui came back on the field to throw the ceremonial first pitch. It was a strike and it looked like Matsui could still throw the ball with conviction. The Yankees gave fans a Matsui bobblehead and he was given a personalized framed jersey before the game from Derek Jeter.
Even though he played for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays after leaving the Yankees in 2009, he said he always considered himself a Yankee. The ceremony obviously meant a lot to him since his parents came from Japan to be on the field for the ceremony.
Jeter, who homered on the first pitch that he saw in first inning after coming off of the disabled list, gave the Yankees their first homer since the All-Star break (nine games) and their first home run by a righty since June 25. It was a high fast fastball that Jeter has used to go the other way many times for a homer in his Hall of Fame career.
Later in the first inning, Vernon Wells hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Robinson Cano and Ichrio’s single to center drove in Soriano.
Phil Hughes struggled at home yet again as he gave up two homers to Rookie of the Year candidate Wil Myers, in his four innings pitched, which accounted for four of the five runs that he allowed. The bullpen did an outstanding job limiting the Rays offense since they only allowed one hit in four innings. Since Hughes obviously can’t handle pitching in the Bronx, the Yankees should see if a team will trade quality back for him. If not, then they should keep him.
In the third inning, Soriano hit a much needed home run to drive in Jeter. That was his 18th homer of the season. That puts him second on the team to Cano’s 21. In the ninth, Soriano hit a walk-off single that drove in Brett Gardner to give the Yankees a dramatic win in his third game back with the team. It was his fourth hit and third RBI of the game.
Granderson could return to the team on Friday, which will give the Yankees a much more formidable lineup than they had a few days ago. Their 1-5 in the batting order will likely be Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano and then Curtis Granderson. This win, highlighted by Jeter and Soriano, could definitely be a sign of what is to come.
It was fitting that Jeter and Soriano came up with big homers during this game because they were teammates with Matsui in 2003.