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Rays outlast Yankees in battle of the bullpens

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The Yankees’ bullpen did nearly everything you could ask of them. Unfortunately, the offense did not do that.

New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

With the Yankees preparing to get their rotation in order for the ALDS, the team swapped their pitching plans around to make this a bullpen game. In total, they used 11 different pitchers over the course of the game, and many of them, especially the big names, were pretty good. Unfortunately on the other side, the Rays’ bullpen was pretty good too.

The Yankees allowed just two runs on seven hits over 11+ innings, which is nothing to sneeze at. It was not enough, however, as nine Rays pitchers combined to give up just one run on seven hits in 12 innings. The bullpens matched each other for four hours of baseball, but the Yankees couldn’t keep it going. Ji-Man Choi’s 12th inning home run won a game that had been tied since the fifth inning, and gave the Rays a 2-1 victory.

Jordan Montgomery got things started for the Yankees, and on the whole he was pretty solid. He got himself into a bit of a jam in the first, but eventually escaped it. That allowed the Yankees to take the lead in the third. Cameron Maybin led off the frame with a home run. It was his tenth of the season, and also gave the Yankees solo possession of the record for the team with the most 10+ home run hitters in a season. That tidbit is pretty much the only notable thing the lineup did in this game.

Ben Heller replaced Montgomery to start the third, ending the starter’s second appearance of the year. This one went much better than the first, as he struck out three in his two innings.

In the fourth, CC Sabathia made the first regular-season appearance out of the bullpen in his career. It went quite well, as he pitched a perfect inning, striking out two. His outing lasted just that one inning as Stephen Tarpley came in for the fifth. Tarpley retired the first two batters he faced, but then gave up a game-tying home run to Kevin Kiermaier.

In the sixth inning, Gio Urshela was hit on the hand by a pitch. He stayed in for the next inning, but was removed before taking the field for the seventh. He was taken for X-rays, which turned up negative.

From the fifth until the end of the game, neither team did much of anything at the plate. No Ray reached base in the seventh through eleventh innings. During that same period, the Yankees only had three hitters reach base, and only one got into scoring position. That would be Mike Ford, who doubled in the 12th.

However, the Yankees could not push Ford or either of the other runners across, and that eventually came back to haunt them. After using all of the big name relievers except for Aroldis Chapman, Cory Gearrin was brought in for the 12th. Choi was the first batter he faced, and that would be that.

Considering the Yankees’ record when you factor in what the rotation has been this season, the offense deservedly gets a lot of credit. However, you won’t find many, if any, more annoying performances from them this season.

Box score.