Usually, we assign the adjective “lazy” to weekend days like Saturday or Sunday. But throw in a sports game like baseball, and I think you can have a “lazy Thursday” night. Well, that’s at least what this game felt like. Not that the Yankees or Rays were trying hard to fight it out for this game, the Rays not wanting to be swept and the Yankees needing as many wins as possible to stay alive in the Wild Card race. It just wasn’t nearly as interesting (read: dramatic and filled with massive power-hitting home runs) as the last two games.
Luis Cessa got the start for this series finale against the Rays at the Trop. And he actually threw a pretty good game — 94 pitches in 6 innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs, and struck out 6 Rays batters. In the 1st, Cessa gave up a couple of singles to start off the inning before one scored on a 1-out single. He got out of the inning without further damage. And in the 6th, Cessa gave up a 2-out solo home run. And that would be it for him (and the Rays).
The other Luis — Luis Severino came in for long-term relief again, throwing just 24 pitches in his 2 innings, adding 3 more strikeouts to the grand total of 9 strikeouts from Yankee pitchers to the Rays’ batters.
The Yankees were less successful against the Rays’ pitchers, though they certainly gave their best effort. They knocked 8 hits and worked 3 walks over the course of 9 innings, striking out 9 times in the process, and didn’t manage to cobble together any runs.
Yes, the Yankees were shut out in this final game in St. Petersburg this season.
Final score: 2-0 Rays, Yankees take series 2-1.
While Gary Sanchez managed to be 2 of the Yankees 3 walks today at the plate, he still maintained that defense behind the plate that makes him an all-around great player. In the 3rd inning, a runner at 1st decided to steal 2nd. And don’t they know better by now. You don’t steal on Gary Sanchez. Anyway, the runner was initially ruled safe, but the Yankees took that special opportunity to challenge, review, and eventually (or is it inevitably?) overturn the call. Because you don’t steal on Gary Sanchez.
Roster news: The Yankees traded veteran reliever Phil Coke (on the AAA Championship team) to Pirates in trade for cash considerations. I expect we’ll see a few more moves after this team. It looks like the Yankees are done adding people to the big league, so it could be a sign they’re looking to move some people around or rest them up for the fall league or prep them for Spring Training.
Injury news: Also, Masahiro Tanaka will miss his next start as he is resting his arm due to a “slight forearm strain“. No worries on the big injury front here as the strain isn’t near the ligament, but rather a muscle issue from overexertion. And while the Yankees are still in the Wild Card race, they need their ace in top shape for the potential push and postseason.