Another delayed game due to the rainy weather. Fortunately, the Yankees and Rays only had to wait about 90 minutes for first pitch, and at one point during the game, the sun came out from behind the clouds. The near frozen crowd actually cheered for the sun, an interesting turn of events when less than a month ago, a similar Yankees crowd cheered when the sun was hidden by clouds due to the scorching March heat in Tampa.
But as it always does, the game played on, with Luis Severino on the mound for a commanding start, throwing 92 pitches into the 8th inning. He gave up 5 hits, a walk, and 2 runs, striking out 7 Rays batters this afternoon. His allowed runs bookended his time on the mound. In the 1st, a 1-out single scored on a double to get the Rays on the board first. But then Severino held them scoreless through the next 6 innings. In the 8th, he gave up a lead-off single that moved to 2nd on a pop-up.
That would be the end of Severino’s day, as the Yankees called on Adam Warren to come in for the rest of the inning. Yes, that Adam Warren, still nursing a bit of a bruise on his ankle. Warren was a little shaky, giving up a single to put runners on the corners and a sacrifice fly to score the lead-off runner before he got a solid strikeout to end the Rays’ scoring today. Aroldis Chapman powered through the Rays in a 12-pitch 9th inning, striking out the final batter with a 100 mph fastball to close out the game.
The Yankees also gave Severino enough room to give up those runs. In the bottom of the 1st, the Yankees began their attack of the Rays’ starter. Gardner led-off with a single and then scored as part of Giancarlo Stanton’s big 1-out 2-run home run, his first as a Yankee in Yankee Stadium this year (2nd ever in the Stadium). It was also the hardest hit ball in 2018 so far, turning an 88 mph slider into a 117.9 mph power hit.
Then for a fun sort of repeat, Judge led-off the 3rd with a walk and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s 1-out 2-run home run. In the 4th, Tyler Austin led-off with a walk, stole 2nd, and moved to 3rd on a fly out. That would be all for the Rays’ starter, after 90 pitches in just the 4th inning.
But the reliever they looked to conversely helped the Yankees out a bit, giving up a single to Ronald Torreyes to score Austin (the only run not scored on a home run by the Yankees today) and then a 2-out 2-run home run to Aaron Judge to cap off the Yankees’ runs early in the game, his first homer of the season too. They spent the rest of the game easily defending their large lead.
Final score: 7-2 Yankees, Yankees sweep the series 2-0.
The Yankees officially win their first home series, albeit a short one. Like I said before, the schedule is a little weird this year, so 2-game and 4-game series are more frequent than previous years, though the standard 3-game series still dominates.
Next-up: the Yankees continue facing off with their division rivals and welcome the Orioles for a 4-game weekend series starting tomorrow night (at 6:35 pm EST).
It is worth noting that while tomorrow looks great (although still pretty chilly) for baseball, Friday night and Saturday afternoon are looking less promising, with a rainy mix making way for 1-3″ of snow accumulation in the City.
Yep, winter doesn’t want to go anywhere just yet.