The Tampa Bay Rays continued their recent dominance over the Yankees, shutting down the Yankees, 4-0, on Saturday afternoon. Looking for a big second start to the season after throwing only three innings in last week’s loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Domingo Germán was lackluster, giving up four runs on eight hits and one walk. Despite striking out five batters and inducing just a .217 xBA from Tampa Bay hitters, the Rays were able to get to him early and often.
Austin Meadows opened up the scoring with a solo home run in the first. The following inning began with back-to-back singles by Joey Wendle and Willy Adames, who would both later score after an infield single by Francisco Mejía that bounced off Germán’s glove and into the gap between Jay Bruce, who was playing in to try and cut off the run, and DJ LeMahieu, who was playing back. The third inning started with a home run to straightaway center by Randy Arozarena, with Wendle and Yoshi Tsutsugo adding hits of their own over the next two innings.
Aside from the first two games against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees offense has been stifled for long periods of time, and today was no different. The Yankees were unable to get more than one hit in an inning, managed to get a run into scoring position only twice, and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Even with the Rays being forced to go to the bullpen early — Chris Archer, who was dealing like it was 2014, left the game in the third due to right lateral forearm tightness — the Yankees were simply unable to take advantage.
If there’s one positive on the afternoon, it’s the bullpen. Justin Wilson, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Luis Cessa combined for four shutout innings, striking out seven batters and allowing two hits and two walks, although Wilson did hit the second batter he faced.
As has been characteristic of this team, the defense was wildly inconsistent this afternoon. In the bottom of the fourth, Gary Sánchez bounced the ball in front of Jay Bruce while attempted to pick Tsutsugo off of first, while in the sixth, the normally-surehanded Gio Urshela botched what should have been an inning-ending groundout. Despite this, however, the Yankees did manage to flash some leather. First, Brett Gardner covered a massive distance to rob Brett Phillips — who acknowledged the great play as he was rounding second base — of an extra-base hit to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning.
Before making his rare error, Urshela added to his collection of from-the-back plays, making a sliding grab and throwing from the ground to nab Brandon Lowe at first to open the fifth.
On the whole, this game was a grind for Yankees fans. The Yankees will have a chance to try and salvage the series against the Rays and avoid a sweep tomorrow afternoon, as Jordan Montgomery will make his second start of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. EDT.