Spring Game 19: NYY vs. TB — Like sands in an hour glass…

Sometimes, it’s just an inning that makes all the difference. In this afternoon’s game, the Yankees drove south to visit the Rays at their Spring home in Port Charlotte (south of Sarasota on the Gulf Coast of Florida), and after a pretty good start, it took a single messy inning to completely shifts the game away from the Yankees’ favor. And then it’s just gone.

Luis Severino got the start and continued what is a pretty solid Spring for him so far. In his 3 innings, he gave up just 2 hits, a walk, and a run, and struck out 4 Rays’ batters. It was his 2nd inning that was a bit messy for the starter, a solo shot to right field got the Rays on the board, and he later loaded the bases with a double, a walk, and a fielding error before getting out of the jam.

Actually, the Yankees’ offense gave Severino a pretty nice lead to work under. In the 1st inning, Gary Sanchez hit a big 1-out solo home run, his 4th homer of the Spring so far to kick things off. Bird followed that up with a hit just inches shy of his own homer, settling for a nice triple, but he was later left stranded there. In the 2nd, Clint Frazier led-off with a single, stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on Gleyber Torres’ great double. Torres then scored on Ronald Torreyes’ solid single.

Severino handed the mound over to Niese, who held things together through the 4th inning, but then gave up a lead-off walk in the 5th (his only allowed base runner). So, it was on to Johnny Barbato, who clearly was having quite the off-day. His first batter hit a 2-run home run to tie up the game for the Rays. Then with 2 outs and 2 runners in the corners with a walk and single, a double scored both runners to give the Rays the lead, and a fielding error allowed the batter to end up at 3rd. Then a passed ball on a walk allowed that runner to score. After another allowed single, the Yankees called Barbato’s day done.

Enns continued the struggle himself, giving up a walk to load the bases and then walking in another run for the Rays before getting the much-needed strikeout to end the 5th inning. But he just couldn’t pull it together for the 6th inning either. With 1 out, he loaded the bases with 2 singles and a walk before walking in another run to cap off the Rays’ scoring.

Despite a 2-RBI single right off, Holder then found the momentum and closed out the 6th and threw a great 7th inning. And Gurka’s 8th inning was nearly flawless, a much-needed relief for Yankee Universe.

The Yankees did try to chip away at the Rays’ lead, but certainly fell short. Frazier ended up at 2nd on a bad fielding error to kick off the 6th inning before scoring as part of Torres’ 2-run homer. And in the 9th, with 1 out and 2 runners on base, Miguel Andujar singled home the lead runner before a double play ended any hopes for a Yankees’ rally.

Truthfully, as bad as the 5th and 6th innings were for the Yankees, it wasn’t like the Rays were all that better. They just spread out their error and mess and sloppy pitching through 9 innings, which made it all the worse.

Final score: 10-6 Rays

World Baseball Classic updates: last night, Venezuela beat Italy 4-3 to advance to the next round in San Diego, thanks to some pretty amazing 9th inning theatrics by both teams. And overnight, Cuba fell to Japan 5-8, which means that Japan is one game away from advancing to the next round. Tonight, the teams from Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico kick off that division at 9 pm EST in San Diego, and Netherlands faces Cuba in Tokyo at 11 pm EST.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: limited video links today, not that you really want to remember a good portion of the game for the Yankees. Sorry!}

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