This game started out with such promise. The Rays got off to a quick start; Yandy led off with a walk, and Franco followed with a majestic home run to right that needed no short porch to get out of the park (431 feet, 108 mph if you are counting).
Our big question of course was whether Shane McClanahan would be able to marshal his always good stuff into an efficient and effective outing. The first inning we were still a bit unsure — he had two full counts, and Judge hit a fly ball to deep centerfield. Second inning his command was better and he was rewarded with two strikeouts.
But that was it for the Rays lead. First the Yankees tied the game on a double followed by Volpe’s home run or should I say “home run” (345 ft to right field — but of course it counts). But Stanton’s homer a bit later, with two mean on base, was no cheapy, and the Yankees had a 5-2 lead.
McClanahan made it through two more innings, but was gone after four, having thrown 82 pitches. Apart from that terrible inning his results were OK. He didn’t walk anyone, got a bunch of ground balls and some whiffs. I was a bit surprised to see McClanahan gone so early, assuming health is not his issue. I would have thought they’d see if he could eat another inning rather than have Erasmo Ramirez get through the top of the order in the fifth inning.
While Ramirez did have several runners on base, he did not yield any runs. Perhaps surprisingly it was the very effective Kevin Kelly who was on the mound as the Yankees built their lead. He gave up another two runs albeit without much in the way of hard contact. The Rays ended up losing by a score of 7-2.
So to sum up: Gerrit Cole was good, giving up pretty much nothing after the two-run homer in the first. Shane McClanahan continued his run of inexplicable poor starts, allowing five runs in one bad inning, even if two of those runs were artifacts of stadium design.
A few other notes: Luke Raley fouled a ball off the inside of his knee (ouch), left the game and is reportedly day to day with a contusion. And both Margot and Pinto got thrown out trying to stretch singles into doubles — which might not have changed the outcomes but it’s better to have a base runner than an out. I generally like the Rays aggressiveness on the bases, and I still believe it gains them more than it costs them, but Pinto is not especially fast so maybe not the best guy to do this, and Margot seemed to make the decision to try for second rather late, turning on the burners only after rounding first.
Also, the Rays had just six hits tonight....and three of them were from Rene Pinto, including an infield hit! Who says the Rays needed to trade for catching help.
It’s never fun to lose, even if the Orioles lost as well, but the loss isn’t what concerns me about this game. After all, if we could have been assured, before this series started, that the Rays would win two out of three games, we probably would have been pleased. What concerns me is that Shane McClanahan should be battling Eflin and Glasnow for the right to be called the staff’s ace. Instead he’s either hurt, or tired, or out of sync in some way we, and he, can’t identify.
Rays have a travel day tomorrow, and then start a series in Detroit.