Series Review: #6 New York Yankees
A big day for the Tampa Bay Rays in game three makes the overall numbers look great for the Rays, but they squandered enough chances in the first two that the Rays deserved their fate. Still, they stand atop the New York Yankees in the standings with those above well within reach if the team can just continue to keep playing good ball.
The numbers back up my assertion that the Rays didn’t really have a right to win those first two games. They were out-hit in game one and out-pitched in game two. Then the third game happened and the eruption came with it. Run this series back 10 times and maybe the Rays take two out of three more often than not, but in reality you only get one bite at the apple, and if it’s sour, well too bad.
The starters were really quite good with Blake Snell’s debut topping the charts. In his two trips through the Yankee order he reaved and pillaged as he saw fit with the volume and value combining to be worth a little more than two runs better than average. Hard to top that, but Drew Smyly did his damnedest to try. He pitched very well dancing out of the little bit of trouble he conjured and pitching deep into the game to save the pen for the next series. Matt Moore was mostly what we should expect, though I think those expectations will be improving drastically as he continues to put his injury-related past firmly behind him.
The pen was a different story. After being mostly pretty good so far we saw poor performances from some of our stalwarts. Unfortunately, these also came in extremely high leverage. No one exemplifies that more than Xavier Cedeno. X-man is someone that the team needs to be able to count on to get lefties and righties when it matters most. He completely scrapped the fastball in his appearance and was a big reason the team lost the second game. Erasmo was better, but yielding the game-winning homer in game two was enough to sour the series for him.
Despite the boom-or-bust nature of Mr. McCann he still torched the Rays with some big hits in the series and Brett Gardner might have had the biggest with his walk off jack. Mark Teixeira shook off some of the rust to have a good series, but it’s not all bad news. The Rays did very well against those bottom four guys who all got a ton of chances including Alex Rodriguez who looked like the biggest threat coming into the series. He left the third game with an oblique issue that could be serious enough to miss some time. Unfortunately, that might be a good thing for the Bronx Bombers. A-Rod had a couple of warning track fly outs that might have turned games well away from the Rays favor. It’s hard not to wonder if those would have left the yard last year when everything he did seemed to work out for him.
Overall, the team hit at a well above average rate for the series, but again, that’s inflated a bit by the outburst on Sunday. Steve Pearce, the Lakeland Launcher himself, had a yuuuge series, and he wasn’t alone. The Rays pounded the ball with each of the names at the top having multiple extra base hits. Big props to Coredy Dickerson who had to face some lefties for the first time, extensively, and while he provided predictable results he absolutely mashed the righties. The other side of the coin shows Logan Morrison getting out of the dungeon to be merely bad, though Brad Miller and Curt Casali join him as familiar names near the bottom of this list.
Dellin Betances is a freak. Five of those six outs were strikeouts, and none of the batters that faced him looked comfortable or confident. Ivan Nova should be commended for keeping them in game one getting several big outs in a very tight game. The second game was an exhibition for Masahiro Tanaka who continues to be very good despite pitching with a bum elbow. He completely nullified the Rays bats in the process of ruining what should have been a coming out party for Blake Snell. The other starters weren’t very good with Pineda being an absolute shit show in the last game.