Game 36: NYY vs. TB — Not quite shut out, but heading north on a loss

Well, the Yankees head northwest about 1300 miles after tonight’s game. And it’s not on a high note, and not looking forward to facing the AL Central leaders in Kansas City (who are basically on the late April Yankees hot streak in mid-May).

Chase Whitley started tonight’s game, but didn’t get very far. He threw 43 pitches in just 1.2 innings before being pulled from the game. He apparently had been privately dealing with elbow soreness for some time, wanting to pitch through the pain, but tonight, it all caught up with him.

In the 1st inning, with 2 outs, the runner on 3rd from a double and wild pitch scored on a single. Then in the 2nd, after 2 quick fly outs, a batter walked then stole 2nd and ended up at 3rd on a throwing error. After walking a second batter, the Yankees noticed Whitley’s pain and decided to pull him. He was sent to the team’s local doctor (as they do have a major club facility here in Tampa) for further tests, including an MRI. But all signs point to some kind of stint on the DL (more later).

Esmil Rogers was called on to replace Whitley and promptly gave up a 3-run home run. Rogers total 51 pitches took him through the 5th inning, giving up 3 of his 5 hits in the 4th inning, one scoring an additional Rays’ run.

David Carpenter took the 6th and in 9 pitches kept the Rays scoreless for one inning, but his reliever Chase Shreve found a sticky situation in the 7th when a double scored on a long single before he got himself out of the inning. Branden Pinder’s 14-pitch 8th was rather good.

Now, it wasn’t that the Rays pitching (or their defense) is truly at this amazing level. No, it’s just that the Yankees aren’t hitting. For whatever reason you want to give (I personally blame the dome and the artificial turf because neither of those things belong in a baseball stadium; it’s unnatural.) The Rays’ pitching staff tonight was divided into two pitchers — the starter (who ultimately got the win) threw his 68 pitches through 5 innings, giving up 1 hit and 2 walks; the reliever (who ended up with the save, but I don’t know why as the score wasn’t close enough for such a statistic) threw 62 pitches through his 4 innings, giving up 4 hits and a run.

It was that run that broke up the Rays attempt at a shut out tonight — a big 9th inning lead-off solo home run by Alex Rodriguez. It was also his 1,000th RBI as a Yankee.

Final score from the Trop: 6-1 Rays, Rays take the series 3-1.

Up until the home run from Rodriguez, the Yankees were facing their first shut-out game of the season. As of right now, only 3 teams haven’t had lost in a shut-out game — the Yankees, the Tigers, and the Blue Jays.

Also, Brett Gardner has reached base in his last 18 games, and Ellsbury stole his 12th base of the season tonight. These Power Twins are still just kicking it at the top of the batting order on the field, in the batter’s box, and around the bases.

Now, prior to Whitley’s unexpected injury (but really when is an injury ever expected), there was a lot of chatter and suppositions as to what the roster move was to be when Chris Capuano came back into the rotation. Talks of Warren and Whitley (being the newer guys) floated around on merit and history, but as no one ever plan on an injury, it came out of the blue and kind of surprised everyone. I mean, it does make the decision easier. Capuano comes back and takes Whitley’s next start, sliding into the rotation rather easily now. Based on what the results of Whitley’s tests are, where he lands once he’s off the DL is still very much up in the air.

No one ever likes injuries to occur, and it’s rather bittersweet when it does because the person taking the injured player’s spot certainly knows what it’s like to be stifled and unable to play the game you love because your body is fallible. The myth of the superstar athlete is perfection, idealism, that superman syndrome. Reality demands that they are just like the rest of us — prone to failure and pain and the consequences of pushing our bodies to the limit too often.

Get well soon, Chase (and all those still or secretly battling some kind of injury)!

Go Yankees!

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