A ton of meatheads left “their homes in New York” and turned out for the Yankees last night. They enjoyed watching the Bronx Bummers get held to just one run. (Photo Credit: X-Rays Spex)

The Tampa Bay Rays took a two-run lead against CC Sabathia in the middle innings, then held on to win the first of a three-game series, 2-1 over the New York Yankees. Tampa Bay has won its last two games against New York, holding the Yankees to just one run in each contest.

Source: FanGraphs

The Tandem of Ryne Stanek and Ryan Yarbrough opened/started the game against the American League’s best team (that is, if we are looking at W/L record alone).

Stanek, despite throwing 25 pitches, and allowed a runner to second with none out — thanks to a base hit by Brett Gardner and an error by Carlos Gomez — yet no runs. The right-hander caught Aaron Judge looking, coaxed a ground ball from Giancarlo Stanton, and ended the frame on a fly ball to center from Gary Sanchez to strand Gardner at third, ending the threat.

Ryan Yarbrough walked three over 3-1/3 scoreless innings; allowing a double to Aaron Hicks to start the second. He, however, did not allow a runner beyond second base.

Diego Castillo followed Yarbrough, and though he walked the first batter he faced, Castillo retired the next five hitters in a row, striking out a pair. Adames punctuated a scoreless fifth inning with a leaping catch of a Didi Gregorious liner to short.

As for Castillo, he’s now thrown scoreless ball in five straight outings, covering seven innings.

Meanwhile, the Rays took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning against Grimmace…erm, Sabathia. Daniel Robertson got things started when he lashed a one out double down the left field line, and into the corner, before Carlos Gomez was hit by a pitch. Willy Adames followed with a bloop single to right, scoring Robertson from second for the lead.

Gomez advanced to third, and Adames moved up to second on the throw home.

Sabathia was able to limit the damage, getting Johnny Field to ground to third, with Gomez thrown out between third and home, thanks to some poor base running on his part That’s not entirely unexpected out of Gomez, after all we’ve seen plenty of base running gaffes from the right fielder. Kevin Kiermaier bounced to short to end the inning.

Tampa Bay extended the lead to 2-0 in the fifth, although they did leave a lot of chicken on the bone in the process. Matt Duffy led off the frame with a comebacker that Sabathia deflected, then threw past Greg Bird for an infield hit and an error, allowing Duffy to move into second. Duffy was able to move up 90 feet when Wilson Ramos notched an infield hit that spun past Miguel Andujar. C.J. Cron made a bid for extra bases, lifting a ball to deep right field, however, Stanton made a leaping catch at the wall, relegating Cron to a sacrifice-fly and just one RBI. With Sabathia on the ropes, Jake Bauers grounded into an inning ending double play, limiting the damage.

After Tampa Bay left the bases juiced for the second time in the contest, in the sixth inning, New York got on the board in the seventh. Chaz Roe appeared to want nothing to do with Gleyber Torres and walked the second baseman on four pitches with one out. Gardner followed with a seeing-eye single to right, putting runners on the corners for Judge. With the Yankee fans in attendance loud and on their feet, the mighty Judge hit a weak looper to right, off the end of his bat, making it a one-run game. Roe came back to retire Stanton on a soft comebacker.

Kevin Cash called on left hander Jose Alvarado to face the southpaw hitting Gregorious with a pair of runners in scoring position. Alvarado fell behind 2-0 before he got Gregorius to hit a broken-bat grounder to second, ending the threat.

Alvarado followed with a 1-2-3 eighth, despite falling behind all three batters.

Sergio Romo came on to close out the game in the ninth. And though he allowed a leadoff single to Andujar, Romo got Gleyber Torres to fly to left for the first out. With the game in the balance and a dangerous hitter at the plate, Romo fell behind Gardner 3-2 before he coaxed a game ending 6-3 double play.

All told, the Rays collected 10 hits: three from Wilson Ramos, and two apiece from Duffy, Gomez and Adames. Even though they failed to score more than four runs for the 10th consecutive game, they improved to 5-5 in those games.

The New What Next

Game two of the series is on Saturday in what is expected to be a sell out. Wilmer Font (0-1, 2.20 ERA with Tampa Bay) will get the start opposite of Sonny Gray (5-4, 4.89 ERA).

Wilmer Font has made three consecutive starts, pitching deeper each time — going from 2-1/3 innings to 3-1/3 to 4-2/3 against the Yankees on Sunday. The right-hander has allowed three runs on eight hits during that 10-1/3-inning stretch, lowering his ERA from +12 to 7.56. And while Rays remain committed to using an “opener” three times in five game stretches, Font showed that he should be able to handle starting, at least until Chris Archer returns.

Sonny Gray allowed two runs on six hits and one walk over five innings on Monday. He struck out seven. Aside from the second and fourth innings, when Gray put multiple men aboard and allowed an RBI groundout and a sacrifice-fly, he limited baserunners effectively. He pounded the strike zone at a 71% clip while coaxing 16 whiffs. Six groundball outs also helped him mitigate the damage. Gray has begun to turn things around after an abysmal start and has now allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his last six starts, allowing him to lower his ERA to 4.89. This season Gray has relied primarily on his 94 mph four-seam fastball with some natural sinking action, 94 mph sinker with armside run and above average velocity, and an 82 mph curveball with sweeping glove-side movement and exceptional bit, while also mixing in an 86 mph sweeping slider with exceptional depth. Key Matchups: Matt Duffy (1-3, HR, 2 RBI), Adeiny Hechavarria (2-6, HR, RBI), Kevin Kiermaier (4-16, 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI), Wilson Ramos (3-11, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, BB), Mallex Smith (3-9)

You can read about the series in our preview.

The New What Next: Rays vs Yankees part three — a series preview

Rays 6/23/18 Starting Lineup

(Photo Credit: Steve Carney)


— Yes, you saw correctly, Joey Wendle will make the start in right field today, hitting fifth. Wendle told Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times) he’s never played outfield at any level with the exception of “a couple of emergency innings when I was 13 or 14.” He, however, is excited for the opportunity. Wendle has been working with Kevin Kiermaier and Rocco Baldelli and reportedly seemed surprised about starting in right, telling reporters who were asking about it pregame:

I hope it’s a non-story after the game.

— RHP Chris Archer told reporters he feels great today after throwing a 20-pitch bullpen on Friday. He is “highly encouraged” by how he feels and will throw another bullpen on Monday. He is hoping for an early July return.

— The Rays rotation is getting a bit of a flip-flop, as to be determined moves from Monday’s starter to Sunday, and Blake Snell will now pitch on Monday vs the Nationals.

— Not only do I love what Pride stands for, I love that the routing — and timing of tonight’s parade — is going to make it incredibly difficult on the Yankees to get back to the team hotel. The parade starts after 7:00 and is routed near the Vinoy, where the Yankees are staying. Today’s ball game starts at 4:00 and should be over around the start of the parade.

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