It’s rarely a good thing when you have to deal with a very real no-hit watch. The Yankees’ offense was absolutely outmatched by Tyler Glasnow tonight, who didn’t give up a hit through five innings before DJ LeMahieu busted out an infield single in the sixth. New York would eventually get into the run column, but it was too little too late as the Rays took game one of this series 5-3.
The Yankees were down by crooked numbers before they knew what happened, as Ji-Man Choi hit a two-run home run in the top of the first. The former Yankee legend continued his ownership of Gerrit Cole, with another hit and walk off the Yankee righty in subsequent at-bats. In the second, a solo shot from Kevin Kiermaier extended the Rays’ lead to 3-0.
Cole was, in a word, flat. This wasn’t the worst pitching performance I’ve ever seen, it was just extremely passive, which is the opposite of what we’re using to seeing from Gerrit Cole. He’s been the definition of a power pitcher for the past couple of seasons, but today, he was reactive, out of control, and really did look almost scared to challenge the Rays hitters – four walks and a hit batter show that.
He gave up two home runs, which is bad enough, but the at-bat that best shows this kind of tentative approach was the RBI single he allowed off the bat of Manuel Margot:
No pitch above the waist. Cole lives up in the zone, with a high spin rate fastball that stays above a hitter’s swing plane. This kind of approach made Cole the pitcher he is – it’s an aggressive, literally in-your-face style, but one that’s worked wonders. In one of the biggest moments of the game, he completely abandoned that gameplan.
We did get to see the MLB debut of Miguel Yajure, who was also the first MLB player to ever wear #89. Yajure had one strong inning – in fact, his three-up, three-down seventh was the first such frame from any Yankee pitcher tonight – with two that were a little messier, but effective, holding the Rays scoreless in three innings. With a depleted bullpen and more doubleheaders on the horizon, it’s reasonable to think Yajure will be called upon again.
Offensively, not much happened until the seventh. As mentioned above, the team didn’t even manage a hit until there were two men out in the sixth. Glasnow was dominant, with nine strikeouts against just a single walk in six innings. Gio Urshela got the Yankees on the board with a solo home run in the seventh inning, and Luke Voit followed an inning later with a two-run blast to get the Yankees to 5-3.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees actually did manage to get the tying run at the plate, but that was as close as they’d come, with DJ LeMahieu bouncing out for the final out of the game. It felt like momentum was swinging their way, but New York just ran out of time. They’ll get a chance to get the win back tomorrow, with game two coming at 7:05 pm ET.