Sluggish Yankees fall 4-1 to Rays, lose series

Coming off an impressive 5-0 win on Tuesday night, the Bombers were looking to start a winning streak at the expense of Alex Cobb and the Rays. For the second time in three games, however, a combination of suspect starting pitching and lackluster offense doomed the Yankees, as they dropped their opening series with a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay.  
Photo Credit: Brian Blanco | Getty Images

After a rough 2016 campaign (6-12, 4.82 ERA), Michael Pineda did not give Yankees fans much optimism that 2017 will be better. The 28-year-old failed to get out of the fourth inning, as he surrendered eight hits and four runs. Corey Dickerson, the first batter Pineda would face this season, hit a long drive to center to give the Rays a quick 1-0 lead. It would be the only home run he gave up on the night, but set a terrible tone for the rest of the game.

Last season, Pineda surrendered 52 runs with two outs, which was second-worst in the league. He would give up three more such runs in the second inning, as he struggled with his command and simply could not finish the inning. It has become a situation all-too familiar to Yankees fans, and one that needs to be corrected as soon as possible.

Even with the struggles from the starting pitching, the Yankees offense did nothing to back Pineda up, as they managed just one run against Alex Cobb, who has historically been tough on the bats of the Bombers. The team went 0-for-9 with RISP, which is an area of struggle for the last several seasons. The only scoring play came in the top of the second inning, when Jacoby Ellsbury hit one into the seats to tie the game at one. It would be one of three hits for the Yankees centerfielder.

The lone bright spot tonight was the Yankees bullpen, which has been very strong throughout this opening series. Tommy Layne, Adam Warren, and Chasen Shreve combined to pitch 4.1 shutout innings. Warren was the strongest of the three, as he hurled a perfect 2.1 frames with four strikeouts. Through the first three games, the bullpen arms have thrown 13.2 scoreless innings with 17 Ks. Even though the offense wasn’t able to muster much during the game, the relief pitching kept the game close and gave the team a chance.

The Yankees will have Thursday off as they hit the road and travel to Baltimore to begin a weekend series with the Orioles. Luis Severino will make his season debut on Friday and will be opposed by veteran right-hander Ubaldo Jiminez. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM ET.

Winning Pitcher: Alex Cobb (1-0, 1.59 ERA): 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (0-1, 9.82 ERA): 3.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R (4 ER), 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HR
Save: Alex Colome (2)
Jacoby Ellsbury: 3-4, HR (1), R, RBI
Chase Headley: 2-3, BB
Corey Dickerson: 2-4, HR (1), 2 RBI, R
Logan Morrison: 2-4, R
Derek Norris: 1-3, 2 RBI, R
Yankee bullpen: 4.1 IP, 0 H, 4 K, 2 BB
Article by: Dan DeGregorio
Follow Me on Twitter: @DanDeGregs
Follow the BBB: @BronxBomberBall


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