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Rays 2, Hicks 3: Swept away

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Tough pitching and costly mistakes allow Yankees a sweep in the Bronx.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this one was a quick game. When things aren’t going your way, at least it not go your way fast.

You might not have expected a pitchers duel out of a Matt Andriese vs Luis Severino, but that’s what we got.

By the second batter of the game, Andriese had left a fastball for Aaron Hicks to deposit over the short left field wall at Yankee Stadium. After that, Matt Andriese settled into a groove. A workmanlike, not super pretty but effective groove.

In the 3rd, after a leadoff single and two groundouts, Andriese walked Matt Holliday and the reincarnated Babe Ruth, Aaron Hicks, loading the bases for Starlin Castro. This sequence against Castro showed off the best of Andriese.

This was a 5th starter, coming off a tough first start of the year, pitching with the bases loaded, 2-outs, in Yankee Stadium, trying to help his team avoid the sweep. That 5th pitch you see was a beautiful change-Up, that got Castro swinging in the dirt.

Andriese worked himself in and out of trouble, but that lone Hicks solo shot was it for the Yankees offense against the Rays 5th starter over his 6 innings of work.

No Answer for Severino

Luis Severino was absolutely cruising tonight. He worked down and outside frequently, taking advantage of a very friendly strike zone (which was pretty equal in its friendliness for both sides).

The meat of the Rays order had no answers for Severino all night. However, it was some unlikely sources that produced enough runs to get the lead off of the young Yankee hurler.

After a Logan Morrison walk and a Mallex Smith single, it was Jesus Sucre of all people to strike for the game tying RBI single.

On this play, Mallex got caught up between 3rd and 2nd. During the run down, Smith pulled up short, grabbing his hamstring. The next inning, Peter Bourjos subbed in for Mallex, who left with a “tight hamstring”.

It was the almost more unlikely Peter Bourjos to strike Severino for a linedrive HR for the go-ahead run in the 5th.

That was the extent of the offense for the Rays side though. Severino finished with 11Ks over his 7 innings.

Aaron Bleeping Hicks

With a 2-1 lead, the Rays called upon Erasmo Ramirez to start the 7th. Ramirez faced just two batters, getting a flyout from Austin Romine, but giving up a single to Ronald Torreyes.

That single got Kevin Cash out of the dugout, and surely into the next edition of Cash Considerations!

Cash pulled Erasmo, and flicked out his left wrist to call for Xavier Cedeno. Remember when going into this year Xavier Cedeno was the other reliever we could rely on, and it was guys like Tommy Hunter, Danny Farquhar and Jumbo Diaz as the question marks? I want to go back to those simpler times.

Xavier started perfectly, getting Jacoby Ellsbury to ground out weakly right to Brad Milelr at 2nd. However, it was too weak, and Miller could only get the lead runner. 2-out, Ellsbury on 1st, 2-1 Rays lead. Of yeah, and Aaron Hicks up to bat.

Cash left Cedeno in to help hold Ellsbury at 1st, and force Hicks to bat from the right side. Unfortunately, Xavier Cedeno has not been right to start this season, and he left his curveball hanging right in the zone for Hicks to give the Yanks the lead on his 2nd HR of the night.

The Vaunted Yankees Backend (of the bullpen)

The Rays would mount mounted the best threat to tie the game in the 8th against Dellin Betances. Jesus Sucre (again, somehow, someway) lead off the inning with a single. Corey Dickerson went the other way, dropping a sharp single into left-center field, with Sucre hustling the entire way going 1st to 3rd.

No out, runners at 1st and 3rd, with KK, Longo, and Miller coming up.

This was the situation facing Betances, and was where he showed why he’s considered one of the best relievers in the league.

Kevin Kiermaier got ahead in the count 2-0, but then offered on a Knuckle-Curve spinning into the dirt for strike one. At that point, Betances had him. After KK fouled off another tough curve, Betances broke off a wicked slider that froze him for the strike out.

Betances took a different approach with Longoira, going right after him with high 90s fastballs high and inside. After getting ahead with 2 strikes, Betances broke off another devastating slider for another frozen K.

Brad Miller was the last, best hope. Miller made contact, but only barely, dribbling the ball up the line slowly. Inning over, rally over.

Chapman toed the leather in the 9th and worked fairly comfortably for the save, punching out Souza and Robertson.

This series hurt. On to Boston.

Additional Notes:

  • Sounds like some potentially good news on the Mallex Smith front:
  • Jesus Sucre had himself a heck of a game. Sucre pulled off a nifty snap throw to get Aaron Judge picked off for the last out in the 8th.

  • And just to get all the bad news out there at once: