The Tampa Bays Rays are in the Bronx to start a three-game series against the division rival New York Yankees. The defending American League Champs enter the game as the last place team in the American league, hoping to break their three-game losing streak. Both teams are wearing the number 42 on their jerseys in recognition of Jackie Robinson today since the Yankees were off yesterday.
Michael Wacha is on the mound for the Rays against Nick Nelson playing the Yankees version of an opener.
The Rays offense has been missing in action lately and decided to show up early tonight. Austin Meadows’ leadoff walk provided the first baserunner of the game. Meadows then advanced to third on a Randy Arozarena double. Not to be outdone Brandon Lowe knocks a sharp line drive double, allowing Meadows and Arozarena to score. One way to try to break a three-game skid is to get three consecutive baserunners to begin the game. Nelson eventually gets out of the inning only giving up two runs but it sure was ugly.
The opener thing not working for the #Yankees, again. Maybe they didn't read all the instructions— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) April 16, 2021
Meanwhile, in the bottom of the first, Wacha retired the side in order using 11 pitches including getting Aaron Judge to strikeout swinging.
Michael King replaces Nick Nelson in the second. A Willy Adames single would be the only offense for the Rays as Mike Zunino and Meadows strikeout and Arozarena grounds out to second.
The top of the third looked like it could be more trouble for the Yankees as Lowe leads off getting hit by a 90 MPH Cutter and Diaz followed with a single. The Yankees escape without allowing runs but Wacha gets Clint Frazier and Rougned Odor to both strikeout swinging. Arozarena makes an incredible catch to maintain the 2-0 Rays lead into the fourth.
STRAIGHT UP ROBBED!— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) April 17, 2021
Randy Arozarena ends the inning with an incredible catch! @RaysBaseball up 2-0!
Watch on Bally Sports Sun & stream it here: https://t.co/Mk8FfLbJty #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/2YD1HDU3ZV
King keeps things interesting walking three consecutive Rays batters after getting the first two outs of the inning. The Rays seemingly unable or unwilling to hit with runners in scoring position so far do not capitalize on the opportunity as Diaz hits into a force out at second, stranding all three runners.
Outside of a Gleyber Torres walk, Wacha continues to be on fire getting Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Urshela to all strike out swinging. So far that is seven strikeouts in four innings for Wacha, all swinging. The man is on fire and the Rays carry the two run lead into the fifth.
In the top of the fifth Luis Cessa replaces King for the Yankees and the Rays bust this game wide open with the assistance of Yankees defensive ineptitude. Wendle leads off with a single and eventually scores on a Brosseau double. Gio Urshela makes a throwing error allowing Willy Adames into first safe and Brosseau to score and the Rays extend their lead to four runs.
The #Rays have been gifted four runs in the 5th, with two infield errors, and two more walks.— Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) April 17, 2021
7 walks and a hit batter by Yankees pitching.
Zunino and Meadows both draw walks to load the bases with Randy Arozarena on deck. Arozarena hits into what should be a routine force out and potential double play except Odor makes a throwing error to first allowing Arozarena to be safe at first. Adames and Zunino both score making it a 6-0 game at the end of the inning after a Lowe strikeout.
Wacha remains dominate in the bottom of the fifth retiring Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez and Clint Frazier in order. The Rays are looking really good heading into the sixth leading 6-0.
Different pitcher, similar results at the top of the sixth inning. Lucas Luetge enters the game for the Yankees only to give up singles to Diaz and Wendle to start the inning. Manny Margot gets credited for a single as the Yankees continue their blooper-reel worthy defense. Brosseau grounds into a force out for Diaz at the plate and Adames follows with an infield fly. Zunino takes a first-pitch fastball to the outfield that falls just short of a diving Clint Frazier scoring Wendle and Brosseau to make it a 8-0 lead for the Rays.
Wacha’s command starts getting a little shaky with his Curveball and Cutter as he walks Odor to lead off the bottom of the sixth. After a mound visit he only needs five more pitches to get out of the inning on a DJ LeMahieu pop up and getting Judge to ground into a double play. Wacha finishes his night with after six innings striking out nine and only giving up one hit on 93 pitches. Well done sir.
Michael Wacha dealt in New York tonight:— Inside Edge (@IE_MLB) April 17, 2021
6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 Ks
This is just the second time in his career he threw 6+ innings, allowed 0 runs, and had 9+ strikeouts.
The last time? His rookie season... 9/24/13 vs. Washington#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/i8prAg7YSp
Trevor Richards comes in to replace Wacha in the seventh. They also made some defensive adjustments with Brett Phillips replacing Arozarena and playing center field, shifting Margot to right. The Yankees took full advantage of Richards on a Gleybar Torres single followed by a Giancarlo Stanton blast to right center field for a home run. The Yankees get their first two runs of the game and we head to the eighth inning with an 8-2 Rays lead.
In the bottom of the eighth inning Yankees fans decided to throw baseballs on the field. It makes sense to do that while the Rays were on defense because if we learned anything from this game it was that Yankees fielders were clueless on handling receiving and throwing balls headed their way.
Play stoppage because of an excess of baseballs... No really, Yankees fans started throwing baseballs on the field.— Bally Sports Sun: Rays (@BallyRays) April 17, 2021
We don't get it either!
Watch @RaysBaseball on Bally Sports Sun & stream it here: https://t.co/Mk8FfLbJty #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/fHHy7FIZs8
Hunter Strickland came in for Richards in the ninth inning. Judge is the first batter he faces and he gets him to ground out to lead off. He had three straight balls to Torres that looked like the Yankees might get a base runner. However, Strickland recovered throwing six straight strikes to retire Torres and Stanton to seal the sweet 8-2 victory for the Rays.
After all of the emotions and tensions between these two teams, the Rays continued to let their bats do the talking.
The Rays improve to 6-8 and the Yankees take their place at the bottom of the American League. The two teams are at it again at 1:10pm tomorrow with Tyler Glasnow scheduled to start for the Rays against Jordan Montgomery for the Yankees.