While GMs frantically call each other to peddle their wares, actual baseball is still being played.
Brad Miller got the offense started early with a long HR to center field, his 16th of the year. His HR tonight came as a DH, so technically he has still not broken the single season HR record for a Rays/Devil Rays SS. For all that has been made of Miller's defense this year, and it has been below his career norms by a healthy margin (DRS of -4 and -3 last two years and -17 this year), his bat his been a positive. He's not a long term answer at short, but perhaps some positive regression on defense and continued positive play on offense and Miller could hold that position down until one of the Rays' SS prospects is ready to take over.
Steven Souza hit a towering fly ball that caused some #catwalkshenanigans
Drew Smyly pitched very well, with just the single blemish on the Gardner HR. Smyly was able to mix his pitches and keep the Yanks off balance all night, giving up just 4 hits in his 6 innings of work. Smyly's only walk given up was quickly erased by a nice 5-4-3 double play, and then got some revenge on Gardner, getting him K swinging on a cutter dropping out of the zone.
The way the starters have been pitching lately is almost a cruel glimpse of what this season could have been. Now, it's just helping boost some last second value heading into the trade deadline and gain some confidence before the offseason.
Kevin Kiermaier in the 7th took it upon himself to extend the Rays lead. It started off with a solid base hit, on which KK was able to speed into 2nd with a Kiermaier special hustle double. He then stole 3rd, setting up Steven Souza with a 1-out runner at 3rd opportunity (or, as I like to call it: Tampa Bay baseball's special kind of hell). Souza would come through with a nice base hit, scoring KK.
Tim Beckham then put a few runs on the board the old fashioned way: hitting a bomb to dead center. Bexx had already extended his hit streak to 6 games earlier in the night with a solid base hit the other way, and showed some nice glove work at shortstop as well, including a slick double play to end the Yanks threat in the 8th inning. Real good night at the park for Beckham.
After Chase Headly brought the Yankees a run closer on a HR off of Matt Andriese, the next batter, Austin Romine, sent a deep fly ball to center field. Of course, that's where Kiermaier resides.
Oh, how we have missed you KK!
Alex Colome struck out the side for the save, getting A-Rod to swing wildly on a perfect cutter that dove into the dirt, Teixeira to swing on a 96 MPH fastball straight past him, and then getting Starlin Castro striking-out looking (deciding not to be embarrassed like those other two).
This game was basically the exact textbook example of what Matt Silverman was trying to do with his constructed 2016 Rays. Big offense, good starting pitching, with exciting young relievers stepping up and closing the door. Oh what could have been.
Rays win the series against the Yankees, and will look for the sweep tomorrow afternoon with Blake Snell on the mound.