The Yankees jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against their unbeatable nemesis, Chris Archer. Unfortunately, they failed to capitalize on a huge opportunity, the offense took the rest of the night off, and a late rally spoiled basically everything. Nathan Eovaldi had what might have been his best start as a Yankee through six innings, cruising with a 2-0 lead. That evaporated when he was brought back out for the seventh and turned into a deficit when he was, again, brought back out for the eighth. The bullpen couldn't hold and Eovaldi got saddled with a tough loss that didn't represent how good he looked for most of his outing.
Archer got into trouble early when the dynamic duo of Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner once again reached base to start the game. Alex Rodriguez worked a walk to load the bases, and Brian McCann drove in Ellsbury with an RBI single. Carlos Beltran followed McCann with an RBI single of his own, but everything fell apart from there. The bases were still loaded and there were still no outs, but the Yankees failed to push across even one more run in the inning. A golden opportunity to really rough up Archer was wasted. They got his pitch count a little elevated, but nothing more. Ellsbury and Gardner would each reach base again, but they both fell to the same fate when they were both thrown out trying to steal second base by the Rays catcher. It seemed like any momentum for the Yankees on offense died with those consecutive outs on the bases. Chase Headley and Garrett Jones each tallied a single, and Gardner reached base via a walk, but that was basically the extent of the offense after those first couple innings. What followed was somewhat predictable and highly frustrating.
Eovaldi had pitched a gem through six innings, having run into virtually no trouble in the game. A couple of weak infield singles were really the only damage done against him to that point. His pitch count was low and Joe Girardi decided to send him back out for the seventh inning. The Rays ended up tying the game before Eovaldi could work out of trouble. Girardi also sent Eovaldi out to work the eighth inning, and he once again found himself in trouble. Two runners reached base before Dellin Betances was brought in from the bullpen. Betances didn't have his best stuff, allowing a sac fly to Evan Longoria that put the Rays ahead for good and lobbing two wild pitches toward home plate that allowed the fourth and final run to score. Those runs were both charged to Eovaldi, and instead of coming away with a sparkling outing that everyone would have felt good about, he was charged with four runs and took the loss.
You can find blame for this loss in a lot of different places. Blame the offense for not doing more with the opportunity they were given in the first inning against a tough pitcher. Blame Eovaldi for not being able to finish the deal without too much carnage. Blame Girardi for leaving him in the game too long. Blame the turf for the wide variety of interesting hits that seemed to bounce and roll all over the place. Whatever. There are still two more games to be played in this series. Hopefully the Yankees can find a way to bounce back and take them both.
Tomorrow's game will feature Adam Warren facing off against Nathan Karns. It will start at 7:10 pm.