If Monday night’s three hour and 28 minute 1-0 walk-off victory was odd, Tuesday night’s contest must have been drafted by David Lynch. On a night when the Rays organization celebrated the career of Derek Jeter, Tampa Bay handed the Yankees a 6-1 loss, complete with a bench clearing almost brawl, and a pair of big hits by Nick Franklin who made his debut with the Rays. Jake Odorizzi was spotty, yet he held the Yankees to one run in six innings of work, while Franklin went 2-4 with a double, a stolen base that almost wasn’t, a run and an RBI. The game had everything anyone could ever want: the first time in Rays history two runs were scored on a sac-fly, three Yankee ejections, and a customized kayak.
The game started typically enough, with an eight pitch top half by Odorizzi, and a two-out RISP jam in the bottom — bringing Nick Franklin to the plate in his first at-bat as a Ray. However Franklin grounded to first to end the inning.
— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) September 16, 2014
Things got interesting with two outs in the second. Chris Young, who’s been a thorn in the Rays side of late, doubled to left. Ichiro Suzuki followed, plating Young on a single to right.
While the Yankees went on to mount major scoring threats against Odorizzi in the third and fifth innings, Jake made some big pitches to get out of those jams unscathed. While he wasn’t perfect and he missed the zone with a lot of his pitches, and while he ran some high counts in the second, third, and fifth innings, Odorizzi was good enough to hold the Yankees to one run over six innings — good for a quality start. Odorizzi’s line and breakout: 6 IP/5 H/1 ER/1 BB/3 K 101 pitches (65 strikes, 64% K%); fastball (65 thrown, 45 for strikes, 9 whiffs), slider (2 thrown, 1 strike), curveball (5 thrown, 2 strikes), cutter (13 thrown, 6 strikes, 6 whiffs), splitter (16 thrown, 11 strikes, 1 whiff). In the end, Odorizzi got better as the game progressed — ultimately posting his 12th start with one run or fewer.
The game got weirder and wilder from the fifth inning on. After Michael Pineda plowed through the Rays batting order a few times, Kevin Kiermaier reached first safely on throwing error by second baseman Brendan Ryan. Pineda followed by giving Hanigan a rare free pass, moving Kiermaier to second. Ben Zobrist finally put the Rays on the board when he reached on a fielding error by Pineda.
Then with one out in the sixth, Nick Franklin notched his first hit as a Ray — an opposite field double to get into scoring position. Matt Joyce was next, reaching on another Pineda walk; a ball that skipped away from catcher Francisco Cervelli. Seeing an opportunity to move up, Franklin hustled to third and slid in just ahead of the tag. While he was initially called out by the third base umpire, the play was challenged by Joe Maddon, and the call was overturned.
Given prior notice that the Rays like to execute the suicide squeeze, with runners on the corners and only one out, Franklin was keenly aware of what would come next. Yunel Excobar laid down an ugly — yet effective — 0-1 bunt. As Cervelli attempted to flag down the ball that Escobar popped up in front and to the right of the plate, Franklin charged down the line, sliding well before the Yankees catcher could get back to the plate.
Up 2-1 in the seventh, the Rays opened the floodgates to the tune of five runs. Ben Zobrist got the ball rolling with a one out walk. David DeJesus put together a productive at-bat and moved the Rays utility-man to third on a single to right. Evan Longoria continued to be productive in the second half, plating his 88th RBI on a single to left, which allowed DeJesus to move up a base. Not to be left out of the fun, James Loney loaded the bases on a single to center which brought BenZo Jr. (Franklin) to the plate. Franklin would not disappoint. With a sharply his single to left, Franklin drove in his first RBI and gave the Rays a two run advantage. His RBI single also set up another weird play.
Wil Myers was called into the game to pinch hit against David Phelps. Myers hit a sac-ball to deep center, and though Jacoby Ellsbury made an excellent diving grab, both Longoria and Loney tagged up (from second and third, respectively) to pad the Rays’ lead. Joe Girardi was fuming, and as Marc Topkin wrote, he was,
Adamant that Loney left second early and making three rounds of appeals to the umpires to revisit or review their call, convinced they weren’t in position to see. The umps did huddle, and stuck with their call; the tag-up play is not subject to instant replay review.
Still quite upset after the game, Girardi had this to say:
They said he tagged up. He didn’t tag up. I mean, he did, but he left early, and I don’t know how you can watch both, so that’s a play that I’ll ask Major League Baseball why it’s not reviewable, because it’s hard to watch both. But (the umpire) he said he clearly saw it. I don’t know how he can clearly see both. It’s almost impossible for him.
Whatever the case, it was the first two-RBI sac fly in Rays history (the first in the majors since 2012), and the fourth time a Rays runner scored from second on a sac fly. Tampa Bay ended the inning with a commanding five run lead.
All hell broke loose in the bottom of the eighth, when David Phelps, in retaliation for a Derek Jeter HBP, threw way inside to Kiermaier. Both benches emptied, and the hot headed Sean Rodriguez was in the middle of it all.
Though no punches were thrown, the extracurricular activity on the field — plus accusations by Yankees manager Joe Girardi that the Rays didn’t know how to pitch inside, and the Rays adamantly denying any intent — tarnished what had been a positive night.
“It did for me,” Rays manager Joe Maddon. “I was upset. I did not want anything to detract from the evening. I thought our ceremony before the game was outstanding, I thought the gift was great, we played well, we have a chance to win the game, the last thing you want to do is detract from the evening. And from my perspective in the dugout, I thought it did put a little bit of a nick into it.”
The Rays hit four batters, including Jeter on the left elbow pad, during a three-game series last week in New York then Jeter again Tuesday on the left hand.
“I don’t know what they expect,” Girardi said. “They hit five of our guys in four games, we’re going to be (ticked). … We’re not pincushions. … I’m tired of my guys getting hit, and where they’re getting hit.”
But Maddon said there was nothing to it, certainly not intent.
“I understand their frustration and why they were upset, I get it,” he said. “But it’s part of the game. Truthfully, truly, it was not intentional.”
Girardi was ejected after getting irate after Geltz hit Jeter and the umpires issues warnings. Geltz was surprised by Girardi’s reaction: “He should know that’s not intentional. It’s an 0-2 count. I’m trying to get him out. I’m not trying to hit him. That’s Derek Jeter. I’m not trying to hit Jeter.”
Phelps and bench coach Tony Pena were tossed after the pitch to Kiermaier, which sparked the scrum, although Rays reserve Sean Rodriguez seemed to be the only one really worked up.
“Joe Girardi has a conveniently short memory,” writes Topkin.
He went on, “In the aftermath of Tuesday’s benches-and-bullpen clearing standoff, the Yankees manager, upset and frustrated as his team’s slim playoff hopes are all but extinguished, accused the Rays of not knowing how to pitch inside properly and suggesting they learn.”
Girardi pointed to how the Rays hit five of his batters during the last five games between the two teams.
However, he conveniently didn’t acknowledge that in the first 12 games the teams played this season, Yankees pitchers hit eight Rays batters (while Rays pitchers hit only two Yankees). And for the season series — which concludes tonight — Yankees pitchers have hit more batters than the Rays, 8-7.
The Yankees tried to put together a rally in the ninth, but Kirby Yates dampened the fire. Rays win, 6-1.
The New What Next
The Rays will go for their fourth consecutive win and a sweep tonight with Alex Cobb on the mound. Cobb will be opposed by Brandon McCarthy. The Yankees have taken losses in four of McCarthy’s (9-14, 3.98 ERA) last six starts, including a 5-0 loss to the Rays back on August 15. Ironically or not, Alex Cobb was on the hill for the Rays in that game, and he was spectacular over 7-1/3 innings. To be fair, the Rays are 6-6 in Cobb’s last 12 starts even though he’s been outstanding. If this is a comparison of Wednesday’s starters, the biggest difference is the number of runs McCarthy and Cobb have given up. Cobb has held opponents to two runs or fewer in 12 consecutive games — for a total of 15 runs — while McCarthy has given up 13 runs in half as many starts. Unfortunately for the Rays, that’s more of an implication of the Yankees inept offense than it is to McCarthy’s pitching. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 9/17/14 Starting Lineup
- Tampa Bay needs seven more wins to find them with a plus .500 record for the seventh consecutive season.
- Cobb tonight having gone 68-1/3,innings without allowing a home run; the most by a Rays starter, and the second longest in team history behind McGee’s 76.
- Hey idiots, urm…Yankees, why in God’s name would the Rays intentionally hit Derek Jeter ON THE DAY THEY CELEBRATED HIS CAREER AT THE TROP? Man, Girardi is dumb. Then again, so are Phelps and SeanRod.
- Nick Franklin was not only productive at the plate, but also in the field. The Rays newest fielder was involved in two double plays. I cannot wait to see how he progresses with Tampa Bay.