It’s a different day and a different score, but the result was the same. The Yankees failed to break out of their early season slump and in particular their losing ways when facing the Tampa Bay Rays. They had some opportunities, they kept the game closer than before, but in the end they walked away with a 6-3 defeat.
The long ball was the difference in this game, and it was the road team that took advantage of the Yankee Stadium dimensions this time around. Francisco Mejia lifted the first ball out to the short porch in right field in the second inning, a solo shot that got the Rays on the scoreboard. Two innings later Manuel Margot got a hold of one that went over the centerfield wall for a two-run home run. The decisive blast was a two-run dinger from Joey Wendle in the seventh, though at the time it seemed like a burying blow.
Jordan Montgomery was the starting pitcher for the Yankees in this outing, and while he was responsible for the two early home runs, he pitched fairly well and kept the Yankees in the game. Montgomery became the first starter outside of Gerrit Cole to pitch into the seventh inning this season for New York, and he was fairly economic with his pitch count in doing so. The right-hander cruised outside of his two mistakes, only allowing multiple baserunners in one inning.
However, Montgomery came out for the seventh and walked Margot on four mostly non-competitive pitches to leadoff the frame, prompting Aaron Boone to go to the bullpen. Jonathan Loaisiga was called on to finish the inning, and immediately got a double-play ball that just narrowly couldn’t be completed — it went to video replay and was overturned after an initial out call at first. The baserunner got a second chance, and a third after attempting to steal second base and making it after Gleyber Torres couldn’t come up with the throw. That set up Wendle’s bomb, and gave Tampa an additional run that weighed heavy with the way that the offense has been rolling.
Speaking of the offense, they had a tough task heading into the game against Tyler Glasnow. However, Glasnow wasn’t in the dominant form that he’s been in so far this season, missing often with his breaking pitches early. The Yankees were able to work his pitch count and chase him after just five innings, but they couldn’t capitalize off of the ace’s off-day. The Bombers got one run across off of Glasnow, thanks to back-to-back walks to start the second inning and a DJ LeMahieu single, but that was it.
Some signs of life came in the seventh inning, starting with the newest Yankee. Rougned Odor launched a ball with one out, a solo shot out to right that doubled the team’s meager production to that point. Then, LeMahieu singled for another multi-hit day and Aaron Judge drove him home with a double into the right-centerfield gap. Suddenly, it was 5-3 Rays and the Yankees were within striking distance again.
Unfortunately, that was as far as the rally would go. Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton struck out to end the inning, and the Yankees wouldn’t get another baserunner. Justin Wilson allowed a tack-on run in the ninth, but it didn’t end up mattering.
On top of the four game losing streak that the Yankees find themselves in now, they may be without their starting catcher for a bit of time. Gary Sánchez got hit in the hand by a redirected baseball behind the plate in the top of the fourth inning, causing some clear discomfort, but he came out to take his at-bat in the bottom half of the frame. However, during the set up for the start of the fifth inning, Sánchez was still dealing with some pain and swelling in his hand, so Boone pulled him for Kyle Higashioka. We’ll have to wait and see how Sánchez is doing in the coming days, but at least x-rays came back negative.
The Yankees have Gerrit Cole going in the series finale looking to avoid the sweep and break the losing streak. Cole has been the rock for this team, so perhaps he can help them snap out of this funk and get a much-needed win against Tampa. First pitch will be at 1:05 p.m., and we’ll have more on that match tomorrow.