The Rays dropped yet another close game to the Yankees Wednesday night by a score of 4-3. The loss dropped their record against the Yankees this season to 2-4. Across the first six contests, the Rays have been outscored by a total of six runs.
This latest loss was again a frustrating reminder that this Rays team has yet to put everything together. Amidst a mounting pile of injuries both on the mound and in the field, the continuity we are used to seeing on the roster has yet to materialize for a prolonged period of time.
Nonetheless, the loss still leaves the Rays eight games above .500. The bad news is that Rays now sit nine games back of first place.
The silver lining? Well, it is only the middle of June and the Rays have plenty of games left against the Yankees, and everyone else for that matter.
Now, to the game...
*A pair of Cy Young front runners faced off on the bump, the Bronx Bombers hit a couple of bombs, and the Rays had another costly error.*
Shane McClanahan was, for the most part, his usual self. He went 6 innings again, struck out 7, and walked 2. He surrendered 4 runs, but only one was earned. All 4 runs came via a pair of long balls.
Aaron Judge hit a 1st inning homer that just cleared the wall in right field to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead that in any other ballpark would have been an out.
After an error by Brett Phillips to lead off the bottom of the 5th and a two-out intentional walk to Kiner-Falefa, Kyle Higashioka hit a 3 run bomb to extend the Yankees’ lead to 4-0.
At the plate, the Rays offense would again struggle against Nestor Cortes, who went 5.1 innings and surrendered 1 run. He struck out 4 and walked 3. The Rays put up 5 zeros to start the game until a two-out double by Manuel Margot scored Yandy Diaz.
The 4-1 score would hold until the top of the 8th when the Rays scored a pair of two-out runs thanks to a pair of RBI singles by Ji-Man Choi (who had to wait an eternity to hit because Boone tried to change pitchers after a mound visit) and Rene Pinto.
A scoreless bottom half of the inning left the Rays one last chance to scratch across the tying run. After a leadoff single by Taylor Walls, and a subsequent fielders choice by Brujan, the Rays had two chances to drive in Vidal. Unfortunately, Clay Holmes would again shut the door via a strikeout of Yandy Diaz and a ground ball by Mejia.
On the bright side, Shane McClanahan became the first pitcher in baseball to reach 100 punch-outs.
On the not-so-bright side, Kevin Kiermaier left the game with achilles inflammation. The baseball gods were not satisfied with injuries to Brandon Lowe, Wander Franco, and Mike Zunino... now KK is down for the count as well. The entire Rays defense up the middle has now fallen victim to the IL.
But, there isn't a whole lot the Rays can do about that now other than continue to try and weather the storm, as it will pass... eventually... hopefully.
Let’s hope they can salvage a win in the series finale.