The hot stove is simmering and coming to a boil, with a few trades happening in the MLB, but no major ones today for the Yankees and Rays.
Both teams submitted two lineups; the Rays scratching Nelson Cruz, and the Yankees scratching Aaron Judge.
No need to worry about Cruz, as Kevin Cash said he scratched him for a contusion. X-rays were negative, and Cash hopes to have him pinch hit tonight.
Michael Wacha started for the Rays, and looked fantastic through the first three innings. Wacha walked somebody in the 1st and gave up the games’ first hit in the 3rd, but got out of trouble thanks to 6 strikeouts already!
Rays first hit came in the bottom of the 3rd inning, with Fransisco Mejia hitting a 106 MPH single up the middle with only 1 out, but Phillips would strikeout and Margot hit a soft line drive for the out.
Still scoreless after 3 innings.
BREAKING: The New York Yankees are finalizing a deal to acquire outfielder Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers, sources tell ESPN. The deal is pending medical review.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 29, 2021
Wacha got into a little bit more trouble, after a Rougned Odor dribbler leaked through the left side of the infield for a single. A Giancarlo Stanton groundout moved Odor over, but Wacha struck out Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner to strikeout and end the inning for the Yankees
Noted flamethrowers Nestor Cortes and Michael Wacha have combined to strike out 12 of the 25 batters they’ve faced— Jason Collette (@jasoncollette) July 29, 2021
In the 4th inning, Wander Franco got an infield single, and Yandy Diaz struck out for the first out, but not before fouling a pitch off his instep, causing him to limp back to the dugout.
Brandon Lowe doubled to score Wander, and then moved to third on the throw home to try and get Franco at the plate.
Arozarena got hit by a pitch, right on a pinky to put runners on the corners. Randy looked okay, but hand HBP are always scary.
That would be the only run for the Rays, taking a 1-0 lead.
Top of the 5th inning, Gio Urshela hit a sharp grounder to Joey Wendle, who airmailed it to Yandy Diaz for an uncharacteristic error. Greg Allen doubled to put runners on 2nd and 3rd base with nobody out. Michael Wacha got Aaron Judge (who pinch hit for Florial) to strike out. DJ LeMaiheu to fly out and score Urshela.
Tie Game 1-1
Yandy Diaz did interfere with the throw by Phillips, but I’m not sure it gets there anyways. Yandy made up for it by snagging a line drive for the third out, and limiting the damage.
Rays’ response in the bottom of the 5th? Going down 1-2-3. Same story in the bottom of the 7th and 8th innings as well.
Rays haven’t seen a single pitch thrown 93.0+ from Cortes or Luetge, have 3 hits and 9 strikeouts through 7 innings. Their issues vs LHP are very real.— Jason Collette (@jasoncollette) July 29, 2021
If only there was some help available to hit left handed pitching.
Michael Wacha’s night would be done after 5 innings, and had an impressive (and needed) start for the Rays, going 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, and 9 Ks!
Drew Rassmussen came on in relief for the Rays and provided another solid outing, fastball hitting 100 MPH and going 2.1 innings, giving up 2 H and striking out 3. Rassmussen got into a little bit of trouble in the 8th inning with a Gleybar Torres double with only 1 out. Kevin Cash would call upon Matt Wisler to put out the fire. Wisler got Odor to strikeout, and Giancarlo Stanton to flyout and end the Yankees threat.
The whole game the Yankees were threatening and the Rays....weren’t. And if you couldn’t figure out the Rays’ weakness, its left handed pitching. Yankees’ Zack Britton came on and walked Francisco Mejia! But then got Brett Phillips to ground into a double play, and then Manuel Margot to ground out and end the inning.
In the top of the 9th it seemed the Rays couldn’t get a break. Gary Sanchez singled to open the inning, Wisler then got Brett Gardner to fly out. Tyler Wade would pinch run for Gary Sanchez, and in one of Wisler’s throws, the umps called a balk on Wisler and Tyler Wade moved up to second base with only one out.
But just like on offense, Brandon Lowe had us covered on defense too.
Unassisted double play from BLowe sends us to the bottom of the 9th pic.twitter.com/DGckFjCjlQ— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 29, 2021
Yankees brought out a right handed reliever in the bottom of the 9th with Franco, Meadows, and Diaz up!
Didn’t matter, Rays still went 1-2-3.
To extras we go!
Peter Fairbanks came on, and got ahead of the first batter 0-2, adn then hit him with a slider to put two runners on with 0 outs. Just like the error by Joey Wendle, this definitely wouldn’t come back to bite them.
Fairbanks got Judge to ground out to Wander Franco’s glove, which ricocheted into center field and allowed the runner from 2nd to score.
Yankees take a 2-1 lead, with runners on the corners and still 0 outs. To make matters worse, Pete Fairbanks then called the trainer and Kevin Cash out due to an unknown injury.
If you are keeping count at home, that is 4 banged up injuries in the last 2 days (Cruz, Yandy, Randy, Fairbanks).
This series has been an unmitigated disaster. Multiple impactful injuries, really bad offensive performances, and looking at a series sweep at home.— Darby Robinson (@darby_robinson) July 29, 2021
Much more important than the losses are the injuries. Hopefully Pete and Cruz (plus Yandy and Randy’s dings) are minor
So now we have Andrew Kittredge on, cold with nobody out and runners at the corners. With the infield in, Aaron Judge took off for 2nd, and Francisco Mejia missed the sinker in the dirt, allowing the Yankee run to score.
And AGAIN the Rays’ defense limits the damage, as Gleybar Torres Lined out to Joey Wendle, who doubled up Judge on third base.
So the Rays are down 2, and have to face Aroldis Chapman. Brandon Lowe strikes out, but Randy works a walk, and bringing up Nelson Cruz. Cruz gets down 0-2 but a wild pitch by Chapman moves the runners over, and now the Rays have 2 runners on with 1 out.
Cruz struck out.
Mejia pop out.
And to add salt to the wound, the Yankees almost lost the pop out, and dropped it.
FINAL: Yankees - 3, Rays - 1.
Rays will look to avoid the sweep tomorrow against Gerritt Cole. Gametime is at 1:10 PM.
As completely frustrating and maddening as this game was (I’ll admit that the trade of Gallo made this game even more frustrating), the Rays were in this until the very end. Uncharacteristic error by Joey Wendle, missed play by Franco, missed ball by Mejia, Cruz K’d with the game on the line.
But here are Three Great Things about this game:
- Brandon Lowe - Provided the only run, and helped the Rays’ get out of one of many jams
- Michael Wacha - Put in one of his best outings of the night with 9 strikeouts. Changeup looked filthy.
- Rassmussen/Wisler - With all of the Rays’ injuries to pitching, these two have stepped up. Combined for 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 Hits, 0 BB, and 4 strikeouts.
And here are a few great tweets that, hopefully will lessen the blow of this loss:
A inch decides a winner. I think Wander should be ready for the last quick bound. And Mejia’s block and Wendle’s error were not good, too.— Homin Lee (@Homein22) July 29, 2021
Sure, hitting, especially hitting against a LHP is a big problem. But, I think defense is the corner stone of the #Rays win.
Losses against middling teams are always more frustrating, tomorrow is a new day.— Brett Rutherford (@bgrutherford99) July 29, 2021
Tough loss and a tough game tomorrow but don’t count them out before it starts. This is a good team with a rough few games. I just hope Pistol Pete is okay— Briana Gonzalez (@bri_gonzalez3) July 29, 2021