This one was a slow burn. The Yankees started their four-game series with Tampa Bay on a low-note, falling 1-0 to the Rays in a game where not much happened. It was a pitcher’s duel early on, but both starters were on a pitch limit coming back from injuries, and it became a battle of the bullpens. The Yankees blinked first, and allowed the lone run of the game to slide by.
Winner of the Game
There’s not much competition for this on the Yankees’ side: It’s Tanaka, and by a landslide. The veteran pitcher continued to work his way back into starting form, pitching five shutout innings. He allowed a hit in the first inning, and then retired the next 13 batters he faced. Tanaka delivered probably the sharpest starting outing of any Yankees starter this season, Gerrit Cole included, and it’s a shame that he couldn’t go a bit further with it. Can’t complain about playing it safe with him though, the Yankees will need him around for the long haul.
Honorable Mention: Luis Cessa, for two shutout innings out of the ‘pen.
Loser of the Game
...Oh boy. This was not the finest hour from the Yankees’ lineup. Aaron Judge was back in the lineup today, but didn’t have much of an impact. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, leaving four men on the basepaths in his wake. The biggest strikeout of the night came from Gary Sanchez, however. Sanchez’s struggles didn’t stop after his home run last night, and he got sent packing after three straight strikes up in the strike zone with the bases loaded to end the eighth. Not a good look, anyway you try and approach it.
This is probably a better pic to use because they were all fastballs, up in the zone. Gary, I love you, but boy, I am Officially Concerned pic.twitter.com/Xq2e43TfX0— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) August 8, 2020
Honorable Mention: Mike Tauchman, for running into an out in the eighth inning. Adam Ottavino, for giving up a pair of walks and throwing a wild pitch to break the tie.