Game 88: NYY vs. TB — Sleepy Sunday to close out the first half

For all the drama from the first three games of this series, this afternoon’s finale was quite mundane in comparison. James Paxton got the start for the Yankees today, throwing 99 pitches through 6 innings. He gave up 7 hits and 2 runs and struck out an impressive 11 Rays’ batters.

In the 1st, a lead-off double scored on another double. A single moved that runner to 3rd before a fielder’s choice scored the Rays’ second run. After that, the Yankees held off the Rays for the rest of the game. Kahnle, Ottavino, and Green each took 2 outs to close out the final 2 innings of the game and keep the Rays’ from adding to their early lead.

Unfortunately, the only shot the Yankees’ offense got was a 2-out solo home run in the 2nd by Brett Gardner. Collectively, both pitching staffs got 27 strike outs today, and that seemed to make quite a bit of difference by the end of the game.

Final score: 2-1 Rays, the series is split 2-2

Next up: The All-Star Break is officially underway for those not traveling to Cleveland. On Friday, the Yankees will begin the second half of the season with a long home stand against the Blue Jays, Rays, and Rockies. They’ll hit the road again to face the Twins and Red Sox.

Today, in Cleveland, as part of the All-Star Game festivities, there are two exhibition games scheduled for fans — the Celebrity Softball Game and the Futures Game. The Futures game features some of the best prospects within the minor league system. The Yankees are represented by a single player, pitcher Deivi Garcia of AA Trenton Thunder. The players used to be divided into American and World teams, but more reflective of the game on Tuesday, they now simply represent the American and National Leagues.

On Monday, the players will meet the media, workout at Progressive Field, and then have fun watching the Home Run Derby. Then Tuesday is the main event — the 90th Annual All-Star Game. In addition to Sabathia’s honoring, the Yankees are represented by Chapman, LeMahieu, Sanchez, Tanaka, and Torres. So, there’s a lot for Yankee fans to see this next week.

Go Yankees!

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