Bullpen falters as Yanks drop first game against the Rays 5-4

Coming in after a tough loss yesterday against Danny Duffy and the Royals, the Yankees looked to bounce back against the Rays in Tampa. They did not have their manager though, as Joe Girardi was attending his daughter's high school graduation so bench coach Rob Thomson filled in. Man, did the Yanks try to win. They had two different leads, and were able to tie the game in the eighth, but the bullpen did not want them to win. Oh well. Move on and focus on the next game. Luis Severino (2-2, 3.86 ERA) and Erasmo Ramirez (2-0, 2.92 ERA) made the starts tonight.
Photo Credit: Chris O'Meara of AP

The Yanks quickly got ahead in the first inning. After Brett Gardner struck out, Jacoby Ellsbury singled, Matt Holliday doubled, and Starlin Castro grounded out to shortstop to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. That all happened on Erasmo Ramirez’s first nine pitches of the game. Aaron Judge then singled, but Didi Gregorius struck out to end the inning. Oh well. At least they got one run.  

However, the Rays didn’t let that get to them, and made Luis Severino work in the bottom of the first. Corey Dickerson singled, but the both Kevin Kiermaier and Evan Longoria grounded into fielder’s choices. Logan Morrison then drilled a double into left center field, and Longoria scored to tie the game at 1. Severino then walked Steven Souza Jr., but Colby Rasmus grounded out to end the inning. In the end, Severino threw 30 pitches in the first, which is...less than ideal. To put that into perspective, after retiring the side in the second inning, Ramirez had 22 pitches. Yikes. He bounced back nicely in the second inning though, striking out Daniel Robertson and Derek Norris.

The Yanks were able to push across another run in the top of the 3rd, as Gardner reached on a bunt single and moved to second on Longoria’s throwing error. Ellsbury then slashed a double down the left field line, scoring Gardner. Holliday then grounded out slowly to short, and Ellsbury moved to third. Castro grounded out and Judge flew out to end the threat. Another wasted opportunity to score more than one run, but again, at least they got one.

Sevy was worked hard again in the 3rd. After two decently quick outs, including a strikeout of Kiermaier, Longoria singled, and then Morrison and Souza worked full count walks, which were Severino’s fourth and fifth full counts of the night. He was able to work out of the bases loaded jam by striking out Rasmus on 3 pitches, all sliders, however. Even though the fourth ball called on Souza was borderline, Sevy finished the 3rd inning with 69 pitches, which is awful. This is now two consecutive starts that Severino has had to work really hard to get outs, and it’s only a matter of time before teams start scoring more runs. He’s gotta figure something out soon.

In the bottom of the fourth, Severino missed an opportunity. After Tim Beckham singled, Robertson attempted to bunt, but popped it straight up. Severino caught it for the first out of the inning. However, YES Network broadcaster Ken Singleton pointed out that Sevy should’ve let the ball fall, and thrown to second. Robertson did not even attempt to run on the play, so it would’ve been an easy double play. This didn’t end up hurting him, as Sevy struck out Norris and Dickerson to end the inning, but I just figured it was worth noting.

The Yanks weren’t able to do anything in the fifth, as Gardner worked a one out walk, but Ellsbury grounded into a double play to end it. In the bottom of the inning, Kiermaier grounded out, and Longoria doubled down the left field line. Morrison grounded out to first, moving Longoria to third, but Souza struck out to end the inning. That would be all for Severino, who finished the night with 89 pitches. He wasn’t great, but not awful either. He made some good pitches, and finished with seven strikeouts, but his three walks were troublesome. He really had to work hard overall, but he fought and only gave up one run, so props to him.

In the sixth, Castro lined a one out single to center, and that was all for Ramirez with Judge due up next. The Rays brought in former Yankee Diego Moreno, who got Judge to ground out to Robertson for the second out. Castro moved to second, but would be stranded there as Didi flew out to left field. Jonathon Holder came on to relieve Severino, and gave up a double to Daniel Robertson after Rasmus and Beckham struck out. Derek Norris then grounded out to first to end the inning, which I will note was a solid play. The shift was on, and Carter had to range far to his right. He threw to Holder who was covering first, and they were able to beat Norris to the bag by less than half a step.

Adam Warren came on for the seventh, and promptly gave up back to back singles to Dickerson and Kiermaier. That’s when Yankee killer Evan Longoria came up, and came through on his Yankee killing duty with a single to right field. Judge made a strong throw in, and Dickerson was forced to stay at third. So the bases were loaded with no outs for Logan Morrison. There’s no way the Yanks get out of this without giving up a run, right? Right. Morrison smashed a sac fly to deep center field, scoring Dickerson, and the other two runners moved up. The game was then tied at 2 and now there were runners on second and third with just one out. Warren was able to strike out Souza, and Rob Thomson decided to pull him and have Chasen Shreve face pinch hitter Rickie Weeks Jr. Fun fact: Weeks had struck out 40 times in 76 at bats so far this year. That’s not how this ended though, as he chopped a ball down the third baseline that went under the glove of Ronald Torreyes. Both runners scored, giving the Rays a 4-2 lead, and it was ruled a double. Tough play, but that’s a ball Toe should at least knock down. Beckham grounded out to end the inning, but the damage was done.

To begin the eighth inning, the Rays brought in rookie left hander Jose Alvarado against the top of the Yankee lineup. Gardner walked, and Ellsbury popped up on a 3-1 pitch for the first out. Kevin Cash then took Alvarado out and brought in another rookie in Ryne Stanek, who has fantastic hair, by the way. Stanek’s second pitch was booted by Norris (even though it was called a wild pitch), and Gardner was able to move to second. That wouldn’t matter though, as Holliday would crush a 100 mph fastball over the right field seats later in the at bat to tie the game at 4-4. This team, you guys. They are NEVER out of a game. Castro would follow the homer with a hard single to left, and that was all for Stanek. Great hair, not so great pitching. Danny Farquhar came in to face Judge, who would ground into a double play. The damage was done though. Tie game going to the bottom of the eighth.

Every Yankees fan had to hold their breath in bottom of the inning, as Judge and Castro collided on a Robertson pop up down the right field line. Both stayed in the game and appeared to be fine, but the YES broadcast showed Castro had a nasty turf burn on his forearm. However, that wasn’t even the worst part of the inning, as Tyler Clippard walked both Derek Norris and Kiermaier. There was two on and two out for Longoria, who singled to left. Norris scored, and the Rays once again were in the lead 5-4. That was Longoria’s fourth hit of the game too. The dude flat out murders the Yankees. Morrison struck out to end the inning, but again, the Yankee bullpen couldn’t keep the Rays off the board. 
Photo Credit: Chris O'Meara
 The Yanks were retired in order in the ninth by Rays closer Alex Colome to drop the game 5-4. The 5-9 hitters in the lineup went 1-14 with 5 strikeouts, which is bad. Hopefully they’ll bounce back tomorrow, when the play the second game of this series at 4:10 EST. Masahiro Tanaka looks to bounce back from his horrible Jeter Day start against Matt Andriese. The game will be on YES.

Winning Pitcher: Danny Farquhar (2-1, 2.89 ERA)
Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (0-2, 1.53 ERA)

Brett Gardner: 1-2, 2 BB, 2 R
Jacoby Ellsbury: 2-4, 2B, RBI, R
Matt Holliday: 2-4, HR (8), 2B, 2 RBI, R
Starlin Castro: 2-4, RBI
Luis Severino: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K
Evan Longoria: 4-5, 2B, RBI, 2 R, SB
Logan Morrison: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, BB, Sac Fly
Erasmo Ramirez: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K

Article By: Alex Weir
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