Statement victories are less common in baseball than they are in, say, football. It probably wouldn’t be a stretch, however, to call this series something of a statement series for the Yankees. New York entered this three-game set with the Rays coming off an uneven road trip that saw their AL East lead dwindle to a half-game, but they blew Tampa Bay out of the building. Today’s 12-1 laugher capped a definitive sweep for the Yankees, as they brutalized Blake Snell in the first inning, knocking out the Cy Young Award winner after just 0.2 innings. The Rays were forced to use nine pitchers across the blowout. That’s quite the way for the Yankees to send their division rivals back from whence they came.
Winner of the Game
A few big winners to highlight today. CC Sabathia had his best start in a month, holding the Rays to one run on three hits in six innings, striking out seven and walking three. It might have been Sabathia’s most in-form outing of the year, as he did a much better job than he has recently generating the kind of non-threatening contact that he thrives on. Per Statcast, only two batted balls off Sabathia had even a 40-percent chance or better of going for a hit.
On the hitting side, Gary Sanchez’s 21st homer of the season extended the Yankees’ streak of games with a home run to 22 as part of a two-hit, four-RBI day. Sanchez’s dinger broke open the game immediately, while Gleyber Torres’ grand slam drove the teams even further apart in the Yankees’ second six-run inning.
Loser of the Game
Slim pickings here, as is to be expected in a victory that came by 11 runs. Even Luis Cessa pitched well!
Every single hitter reached base at least once, even Austin Romine, who recorded just one plate appearance after entering the game late in place of Sanchez. In truth, I think the biggest losers might be all of us that had to watch Cameron Maybin’s home-run streak end after four games.