Yankees Weekend Sweep of the Rays (Recap)

The Yankees came into the weekend playing sub-par baseball with a record sitting at 3-6. The team had yet to win a series as they had dropped 2 of 3 to every team they had faced. However, the Yankees came out of a weekend series with the Rays victorious in all three games as they collected the sweep.
GAME 1: NYY 5 TB 4---
Game one can essentially be summed up into three words: the A-Rod show. Rodriguez collected three base hits including two home runs and 4 RBIs in route to a 5-4 win. The Yankees as a team collected just 5 hits (with A-Rod getting three of them in a 3-4 game, of course). Stephen Drew also continued his power surge hitting his 3rd homer of the season. Ironically, 3 of Drew’s first 5 hits of the season had been home runs. Adam Warren got the start and he was less than stellar lasting just 4 innings giving up 4 ER. However, the bullpen came in to finish the game going 5 innings allowing just 2 hits and 1 walk during that span. Esmil Rogers went 2.1 innings allowing a single baserunner (walk) with Justin Wilson getting 1 out before Joe Girardi handed the ball off to Dellin Betances. Betances went 1 inning giving up 1 hit and 1 strikeout. Girardi then went to Andrew Miller for the 4 out save where Miller struck out three of five batters he faced.

GAME 2: NYY 9 TB 0---
Game 2 should be considered the Brian McCann/Masahiro Tanaka show with much more contributions from other players as well. The game was deadlocked at 0-0 going into the top of the 6 with McCann being the only Yankee hitter to have success off the Rays starter Jake Odorizzi. McCann ended up going 3-4 with 2 RBIs that came off a triple – yes, a Brian McCann triple. McCann was able to chug around the bases to third because the ball he hit ricocheted off the yellow part of the wall only to roll back roughly 40 feet before Rays RF Steven Sousa Jr. could get to it. Point being: McCann missed a home run by 2-3 inches. The Yankees offense then exploded for 7 (SEVEN) runs in the top of the seventh coming off a struggling Rays bullpen (Riefenhauser and Balfour). During the course of the 7th inning, Chris Young was able to work a full count to slug a grand slam, his third home run of the season, on a hanging slider. The ball was a no-doubter that put the nail in the coffin in game 2 of the series. The main storyline of this game was the success Masahiro Tanaka had against the Rays lineup. Tanaka looked like his old self going 7 innings striking out 8 allowing just two hits and no walks. Tanaka threw just 85 pitches before handing the ball of to David Carpenter and Brandon Pinder to finish the game.
GAME 3: NYY 5 TB 3---
The rubber match of the series featured Michael Pineda vs. Matt Andriese. The Yankees collected a series high 11 hits in game 3 as they had 10 in game two, but 9 runs in the game as mentioned earlier. The Yankees offense got rolling early as they were able to get to the Rays young starting pitcher as he lasted just 3.1 innings. Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits, A-Rod doubled, Chase Headley added two more (and 2 RBIs), Mark Teixeira had 2 RBIs, Garrett Jones had 3 hits including a triple (he beat the shift twice) and Didi Gregorius pitched in with 2 hits of his own. Pineda went 5.2 innings – not his best outing – but he kept the team in the game and ended up getting the win. Chris Martin and Justin Wilson both came in to record one out on the hill before turning it over to the lethal Betances/Miller combination. Betances dominated in his 1.2 innings of work allowing just one base runner via walk. Andrew Miller came in to close it out in the 9th as he struck out the side despite allowing a hit.

MY TAKES---
This was clearly the best series the Yankees have played this season. Now you may be saying, “No way!” sarcastically as you read this article but the Yankees were finally able to put the main three aspects of the game together as they collected the sweep: hitting, fielding and pitching. The team hit the ball is every game with good situational hitting to drive in runners that got into scoring position. Each and every hitter came to the plate with a good approach and it seemed like each hitter had at least one game this series where they were locked in. Rodriguez and Young in particular both showed that they need to stay in the lineup as they are both scorching hot right now.
An incredibly encouraging sign this weekend is that the Yankees committed ZERO errors all series. The fielding had been heavily scrutinized as the team was advertised as being one of the best fielding teams in baseball but they had not shown that through the first two weeks of the season as they led the league in errors. However, the team made the plays they had to make this weekend and it saved quite a few runs.

The starting pitching was good, but not great (but Tanaka was magnificent in game 2). The Yankees need to get their pitchers deeper into games but Warren and Pineda did their jobs in keeping the team in the game. The bullpen was also a major storyline as they were simply dominant this weekend. The bullpen did not allow a single run in the series as they were lights out. Betances appeared to have his best stuff of the season in the series finale but he and Miller were extremely effective all series long. If they can continue their success it should bode well for the Yankees. Additionally, if the team can consistently hit the baseball, commit little to no errors and have effective pitching, they will win many games and contend this season.
LOOKING AHEAD---
The Yankees will begin a 4-game set in Detroit on April 20 through April 23 as they face a hot Detroit Tigers team that is 10-2 on the season. Game 1 will feature CC Sabathia vs. Alfredo Simon (first pitch 7:05 PM ET). Game 2 will feature Nathan Eovaldi vs. Kyle Lobstein (first pitch 7:05 PM ET). Game 3 will feature Adam Warren vs. Tigers ace David Price (first pitch 7:05 PM ET). Game 4 will begin at 1:08 PM ET and it is undecided whether Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka will pitch or if they will give him an extra day of rest. The Tigers have also yet to announce their starting pitcher for that game. With rain in the forecast, look for a potential day-night double header Thursday April 23.

Article by: Chad Raines
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