In tonight’s rubber match to close out the opening series against the Rays, the Yankees were looking for the ball to swing back in their court. But after a few moments of weakness in the early part of the game, they were unable to poke holes in the Rays’ defense and capitalize on any opportunities.
Michael Pineda got the start for tonight’s game, but struggled his way into the 4th inning with 71 pitches. He gave up 8 hits and 4 runs, but got a nice 6 strikeouts in the process. Those 4 runs started with a 3rd pitch lead-off solo home run to kick off the Rays’ scoring tonight. But then Pineda buckled down and got 3 straight outs.
He came back in the 2nd to give up 2 singles before getting a strikeout. A wild pitch moved runners to scoring position. The next batter hit into a fielder’s choice as the Yankees made the play for the out at home, which was called out, but the Rays challenged it for a possible home plate collision violation. It wasn’t, so it was upheld.
After a stolen base, runners were in the position to score on a deep single to give the Rays the lead again. Another stolen base allowed that runner to score on another single. Another single had runners on the corners, and then the runner from 1st made a run for 2nd. Sanchez threw the ball to get the out, but the umpire called him safe. The Yankees challenged, and the call was overturned and the inning ended because we all know you don’t run on Gary!
Tommy Layne came in to get the last out of the 4th inning for Pineda and continued the scoreless streak of the Yankees’ bullpen this season so far. He got 2 outs in the 5th before handing the ball over to Adam Warren. Warren glided his way through the 6th and 7th innings, adding 4 more strikeouts to the Yankees’ total tonight. And Chasen Shreve closed out the Yankees’ night with 17 pitches in the 8th. The Yankees’ bullpen has yet to give up a run, showing how strong they truly are in this area of the team.
Not to be outdone, the Rays’ pitchers were able to keep the Yankees from doing much. Sure, they gave up 8 hits to the Yankees, but they were able to keep the Yankees from adding those up to anything that mattered — like runs. With a lone exception — Jacoby Ellsbury’s 1-out solo home run in the 2nd inning.
Final score: 4-1 Rays, Rays win series 2-1.
I do want to mention that Chase Headley continued his massive offensive show again tonight, going 2-for-3 with a walk. He’s currently batting .636, which is ridiculous for an everyday player, even for this early in the season. Jacoby Ellsbury had a better night tonight, adding to the offense in a big way, going 3-for-4 (including that solo homer in the 2nd), and he’s now batting .455.
Now, it’s on to Baltimore for another division rival series starting Friday, hoping the Yankees can do a better job in this series. Baltimore is coming off a high, defeating the Blue Jays in a short series. The Blue Jays are actually headed to Tampa for their series, so it’s just a matter of switching opponents for the weekend. And then the Yankees are headed to the Bronx for their Home Opener. It can only get better from here, people.