Stop us when you’ve heard this one before. In Tuesday’s game against the Rays, the Yankees got a nice overall outing from their pitching staff, only for their offense to be completely held in check. That’s been the story for a lot of the Yankees’ recent games — especially the past week in particular — and it was the case again in this one.
Today’s pitcher to get not much run support would be Nestor Cortes. After a shaky start, Cortes bounced back to put in a perfectly solid outing, allowing three runs on four hits in seven innings. It was not his best work, but in plenty of instances, it might be enough for a win.
Unfortunately for Cortes, the malaise from the offense continued. While the scoreless streak dating back to Sunday’s game ended, the Yankees’ lineup didn’t get much done besides that. They ended the game with just one run on four hits and a walk. All of that resulted in yet another loss, with the Yankees falling 3-1 to the Rays.
In light of the recent struggles, immediately falling behind wasn’t what the Yankees would’ve been hoping for, but it’s what happened. With Yandy Díaz and Isaac Paredes both on after singles, Randy Arozarena homered off Cortes to give the Rays a lead in the first inning.
The Yankees’ scoreless streak extended to 22 innings before they finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth, getting a bit of help to finally end the skid. With one out in the fifth, Andrew Benintendi, whose bloop single that provided the only Yankee baserunner in the previous four innings, took one off the wall in right-center field. A combination of a fortuitous bounce and some less than stellar fielding allowed Benintendi to race all the way to third with a triple. Next up was Miguel Andújar, who grounded one to Díaz at third. Díaz fielded it, but couldn’t get a clean throw off, allowing Benintendi to safely make it home and get the Yankees on the board
Naturally, the Yankees then had a chance at more but failed to take it, because obviously. Marwin Gonzalez had received a rare start with Aaron Boone hoping for some kind of spark for the dismal lineup. He rewarded Boone by bouncing into a rally-killing double play not long after the Benintendi run, and the hapless Yankees never truly threatened again.
Albert Abreu took over for the eighth and threw a scoreless inning, right after the Yankees’ lineup had left a runner at third to end the bottom of the seventh. In their half of the eighth, still down just two runs, the Yankees had a shot, with the exact man you’d want up. With two outs an a runner on, Aaron Judge stepped to the plate. However, he only managed to ground out to end the inning.
Abreu worked another good inning in the ninth, finishing off a perfect two-frame outing. In the home half, the Yankees still had a chance on paper, with the 3-4-5 spots in the lineup due up. However much like in the rest of the game, that amounted to nothing.
From a purely mathematical assessment of the AL East standings, the Yankees are still not in anything close to a dire situation. No, they don’t have a lead for the best record or home-field anymore and Tampa cut their AL East lead to single digits, but Toronto lost again, and at nine games up on the Rays, it would still take something truly wild to put them in danger in the playoff race. That being said, they’ve lost five straight series for the first time since 2005, and it would be nice if they stopped playing like they realized their huge advantage.
Domingo Germán will try to salvage the finale and avoid an embarrassing home sweep tomorrow at the hands of former teammate Corey Kluber. Whether or not the Yankees’ offense will show up for him remains to be seen, but first pitch will be at 7:05pm ET.