If Brian Cashman walked into the Yankees’ locker room before Friday’s 5-1 loss to the Rays and said to the players, “use this game to convince Hal Steinbrenner he should sell at the trade deadline,” then the Yankees performed admirably. If Brian Cashman wanted the team to play their best and move up a game in the standings, well...the team would have failed that request miserably.
New York’s loss on Friday showcased precisely why reaching the playoffs is a pipe dream, at best. Poor pitching, poor hitting, poor defense, and an overall poor product on the field simply isn’t going to result in success, even against the worst team in the AL East.
In what quite possibly may be Ivan Nova’s last start as a Yankee, the 29-year old put on a disappointing final act. After allowing five runs in just 4.1 frames, Nova saw his ERA rise to 4.90 on the season. He had pitched well to start of the second half (ceding two runs over 13 innings of work prior to Friday), but reminded fans of why he has a near-5.00 ERA against the Rays. Nova looked very hittable, giving up six hits and walking three (while striking out three) against a team who has scored the fourth least runs in baseball this season.
Nova was, unsurprisingly, done in by the long ball; solo home runs by Logan Forsythe and Corey Dickerson in the first inning quickly put the Rays up by two runs. He allowed three more runs after that—one in the third and two in the fifth before being pulled for Chad Green. Green, who would likely replace Nova in the rotation if he is traded, was the lone bright spot for the Yankees, going 3.2 scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit and three walks while also striking out five.
The Yankees’ offense did notch ten hits (three more than the Rays did), but stranded a painful 21 runners in the game. The only player to actually get a hit with runners in scoring position was Mark Teixeira, who singled to drive in Jacoby Ellsbury in the eigth inning. Chase Headley had a pair of hits, and not a whole lot else happened with the Bombers’ bats.
Overall, it was not a very awe-inspiring day of baseball for the Yankees, who both slipped in the standings and saw the trade value of Ivan Nova evaporate. Perhaps it’s foolish to evaluate a player on just one start, but teams around the league can’t be bigger fans of Nova after tonight’s start than they were a day before. After this past week’s surge, it will be nearly impossible to convince ownership the Yankees should sell, but the Yankees tried their best in Friday’s frustrating loss.