A sunny Saturday in the Bronx, the Yankees were looking to keep advancing on the slim lead the Blue Jays have over the Yankees. Going into today, the Yankees were just 1/2 a game behind the Blue Jays after yesterday’s win and Toronto’s loss. Unfortunately, fortune’s reversed in the matter of hours, and the Yankees were back to being 1.5 games behind again.
It was Nathan Eovaldi to start this afternoon’s game against the visiting Rays. While Eovaldi wasn’t quite up to “Nasty Nate” standards, he still threw a decent game — 102 pitches into the 6th inning, giving up 5 hits, 3 runs, and 4 walks, striking out 7 batters. In the 2nd inning, a 1-out double scored on a 2-out single to start the Rays’ afternoon. And in the 3rd, Eovaldi loaded the bases with 2 walks and a hit-by-pitch and 2 outs, so a single scored the 2 lead runs before Eovaldi got out of the inning.
And that would be it for the Rays’ offense today. The Yankees sent in relievers on a regular rotation through the rest of the game — Chasen Shreve to finish the 6th and into the 7th, Adam Warren to close out the 7th, Nick Rumbelow for the 8th, and James Pazos and Andrew Bailey split the 9th. The Yankees’ bullpen has been one of their strongest pieces for most of the season, and today was no exception. The Rays just weren’t doing much against the guys coming out of the bullpen.
So it’s unfortunate that the Yankees weren’t doing much offensively to make-up the difference. They Yankees didn’t find runs until the 5th inning. Murphy led-off with a walk and then scored from 1st on Didi Gregorius’ double; of course, the best part of this run scored is that the throw hit Murphy right on the top of his helmet. Note to all players, you can’t throw at the player for the out; it’s bad sportsmanship and it’s not an out. Gregorius moved to 3rd on Ryan’s ground out before scoring on Brett Gardner’s ground out. The starter came out of the game one batter later, and since the Rays’ bullpen isn’t one of the best features, fingers were crossed for more offensive impact.
But for some reason, the Yankees just weren’t crossing the plate. Oh, they could get on base, including a bases-loaded rally in the 8th, but the innings ended before runs could be scored to tie-up/win the game.
Final score: 3-2 Rays.
Tomorrow’s weekend finale against the Rays should be interesting. The Rays send up their best pitcher, one who has always seemed to have the Yankees’ number. And I will say that he is on my list of non-Yankee amazing pitchers. In fact, he’s usually the first one I put on that list from the AL. And being young, I guess I’m hoping he’ll be able to wear pinstripes in the future. But I always want the best players in pinstripes. I’m assuming that’s the sentiment behind all those fantasy leagues. But real life tends to be more interesting, less predictable, and at least a little but hopeful at times.