The Tampa Bay Rays, having been eliminated from playoff contention, were instead playing for pride on Wednesday night against the New York Yankees. Matt Andriese took to the mound for the Rays, opposite the fireballing Luis Severino of New York.
In a way, Wednesday night’s game was a perfect microcosm of the Rays’ season: Exciting and promising at first, progressively more disappointing in the middle, and a boring foregone conclusion at the end.
…Or lack thereof, a disappointing trend since the All-Star break, continued Wednesday night.
Adeiny Hechavarria provided the only tally on the Rays’ side of the ledger, a solo-shot to left on a hanging slider by Severino. It was the first time Hechavarria had homered since he belted one off of Chris Sale earlier this month. Not a bad way to end a season on an individual level, but it would certainly be sweeter if these games meant something.
As for the rest of the lineup, Tampa Bay went a combined 3-for-31 without Hechavarria’s contributions and struck out 12 times.
A true limp to the finish line.
Matt Andriese pitched effectively through five innings, striking out three Yankees and scattering five hits before giving up two runs on an Aaron Judge double. Andriese got himself into trouble in the inning after Jacoby Ellsbury singled and Aaron Hicks advanced him to third on a well-timed hit-and-run. Judge lined a double to left and both baserunners came around to score, but he would be stranded at second as Andriese took care of Gary Sanchez to end the inning.
Andriese would give up a lead-off home run to Starlin Castro in the sixth inning to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead and end Andriese’s outing.
Xavier Cedeno kept the home run train rolling, giving up two home runs while only tallying one out in relief in the sixth. The first was a solo blast by Greg Bird and the second a two-run shot off the bat of Aaron Hicks, giving the Yanks a 6-1 lead in the sixth inning.
Luckily, the rest of the bullpen was able to stop the bleeding, as Jose Alvarado, Ryne Stanek, and Chase Whitley combined for 2.2 innings of scoreless ball, only giving up one walk and one hit between them, both on Alvarado’s watch.
In the end, it was a disappointing game, a disappointing loss, and a symbol of a disappointing season. After taking the lead, on the long ball no less, the pitching lost its effectiveness, the bats flew the roost, and we just watched and waited for the lights to go out.