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Yankees 0, Rays 9: September offers more August delights

The offense once again did nothing, Andrew Benintendi got hurt, and the bullpen fell apart. September resurgence!

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, the score just tells you all you need to know about how a team is playing at the moment. The Yankees have lost more frustrating, close games as part of their skid than blowouts, but they picked a helluva time to get their asses kicked by the ballclub that has now whittled 10 games off their AL East lead in the span of a month — one where the Yankees have been the worst team in the American League. The Yankees lost, 9-0, in a game that was technically close through seven, but wasn’t really in truth.

The usual suspects of this terrible skid were all there. For the sixth time since the beginning of August, the Yankees’ lineup got shut out, stranding runners and looking lifeless. The defense made some bad mistakes, with Josh Donaldson playing Public Enemy No. 1 this time around with two errors leading to the Rays’ first run. The starting pitching did a decent enough job; the score was 3-0 at the start of the eighth before the floodgates opened. Combined, it was an all-too-familiar recipe for disaster that fans of the 2022 Yankees have been force-fed for almost the entire second half.

I almost want to end the recap right there because examining this mess too closely is like picking up a rock that just squished a cockroach and inspecting the bottom. But I will do my best while still keeping it relatively brief because this Yankees team is not at all playing like it deserves any fan’s headspace.

Starting with the positives, Domingo Germán simply did his job again, just as he did for most of August. Through six innings, he kept the Rays’ offense at bay by allowing one run on five hits, wiggling out of trouble a few times in the process. The one run couldn’t really be blamed on him, as it was the result of a Donaldson error in the fourth that was immediately followed by a second error (which preceded a nice relay involving Oswaldo Cabrera throwing a runner out at home).

Cabrera’s heroics could not fully preserve the zero, though. David Peralta singled in a run to put Tampa on top. The Rays could’ve stopped there and won since the Yankees’ offense is such a joke these days, but they did not. Just as Germán did last week in Oakland, he came back to the mound for the seventh with a low pitch count, but after a one-out walk to Isaac Paredes, Tampa delivered the crushing blow on a two-run homer by Christian Bethancourt to make it 3-0.

The first-half Yankees would hardly be intimidated by a late 3-0 deficit, but those guys are history. The second-half Yankees played like they never had a prayer against Rays starter Jeffrey Springs. Oh, they put a few guys on base, but they never scored; New York went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, and given how the team has played lately, only the most optimistic of fans would’ve been hopeful in those spots. Check out these highlights:

  • A completely lost Donaldson called out on strikes to end the first with two men on
  • Two-on, one-out rally snuffed out in the third when Andrew Benintendi heard a “pop” in his wrist, felt numbness and had to leave* mid at-bat; Cabrera pinch-hit and popped up, while the slumping Giancarlo Stanton struck out
  • Isiah Kiner-Falefa never gets to advance after a rare double to lead off the fifth
  • IKF returns the stranding favor in the sixth by grounding out with runners on first and second

*Benintendi’s X-rays were negative, but he’ll go for an MRI tomorrow. Although potentially losing an outfielder who has hit about league average since coming over from Kansas City shouldn’t be crushing, it sure feels like it for the 2022 Yankees.

The Yankees never got another player in scoring position after then. The lineup is just a nightmare in all the worst ways.

In the eighth, the Rays turned this one into a laugher as they beat up on Greg Weissert and Anthony Banda. Weissert allowed two normal hits and then one gift on a Yu Chang topper behind the mound that he threw away. Chang got an infield hit and Weissert was charged with the Yankees’ third error of the night to make it 5-0. That ushered in a comically bad outing from the worst pitcher on the roster, Banda, who walked three — including two with the bases loaded — while giving up two singles and a hit batter.

By the time the dust had settled, it was 9-0, the Rays had trimmed the AL East lead to just five games, and manager Aaron Boone was left fuming at his team’s results in the postgame.

The words are nice and all, but maybe the rookie top prospect who was called up yesterday should’ve started rather than sitting on the bench until two outs in the ninth inning of a blowout! No, Oswald Peraza didn’t get an exciting moment at all for his MLB debut, as he struck out to end this farce. Poor guy.

The Yankees and Rays will meet up again tomorrow night at the Trop, with Clarke Schmidt seeking redemption from an ugly return to the rotation last Sunday in Oakland. He’ll face Corey Kluber with the first pitch from his former teammate coming at 6:10pm ET. Will Peraza actually start this time? Who knows!!!

Box Score