The Yankees lost their eighth-straight rubber game after the bullpen let a two-run lead slip through their fingers in a 7-4 loss at the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon.
New York (62-68) has now lost 12 of their last 14 games and has not won a series since July 21-23 and is now 7-17 in August.
Here are some takeaways…
– Carlos Rodon made the start this afternoon and it looked like it would be another day of struggles. Randy Arozarena started the first with a single before he came all the way around to score on a pair of throwing errors by Kyle Higashioka and centerfielder Harrison Bader as he stole second.
A few pitches later, Brandon Lowe absolutely clobbered a solo shot to 433 feet to deep right-center, to make it a 2-0 game three batters in for the 30-year-old left-hander. A pair of singles sandwiched a hit by pitch and with one down Tampa had the bases loaded. But Rodon induced Jose Siri to line out before getting Christian Bethancourt swinging on a 2-2 high fastball to escape.
After that Rodon settled into things, he retired the next nine Rays he faced with four strikeouts before allowing a leadoff walk in the fifth. The lefty got back-to-back swinging strikeouts but, despite his protest, Aaron Boone called for Ian Hamilton out of the bullpen after a two-out walk to Brandon Lowe.
Hamilton drilled Isaac Paredes in the head with the first pitch he threw but recovered to blow three fastballs past pinch-hitter Josh Lowe to close the fifth and preserve New York’s 4-2 lead.
– Hamilton ran into trouble with two outs in the sixth when a single, hit by pitch and infield single loaded the bases, the third time in the game Tampa had the bags full in the game. But unlike the previous two instances when the Rays left ‘em loaded, Harold Ramirez reached out and sand wedged a 2-2 slider that just looped over the head of Gleyber Torres at second to score two and tie the game.
Lefty Wandy Peralta was the move to face the left-handed hitting Lowe (and after Ramirez swiped second) ripped a 2-2 single to right field to score two more.
– The benches cleared in the bottom of the eighth inning when Albert Abreu drilled Arozarena with a 3-1 fastball in the ribs, the fourth batter hit in the game. The two teams met around home plate with several Tampa players appearing rather agitated and were restrained by teammates, the Yankees appeared disinterested in engaging or seeing the situation escalate. Both teams were warned by the umpires.
The situation then escalated after Arozarena, who stole second, stole third base and appeared to chirp at Abreu who began walking toward third base. The benches cleared a second time but there were no fights as teammates intervened before the pitcher and base runner came too close. Arozarena would score when Brandon Lowe rocked a double to right to make it 7-4.
– A day after the Yanks produced just two singles all game, New York was held hitless through two before Higashioka and DJ LeMahieu hit back-to-back home runs off Tampa starter Zack Littell to tie the game. The homer was LeMahieu’s third of the series and his sixth hit of the series.
— It was a youthful lineup for the Yanks with Everson Pereira in the cleanup spot, Anthony Volpe (who did not appear in Saturday’s game as he sat for the first time all season) batting fifth and Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza batting seventh and eighth.
And the youth came through in the fourth, when Volpe smacked a two-run shot, his 18th of the season, scoring Pereira who singled to start the inning.
Volpe’s dinger would prove to be the final hit the Yankees had all game as Tampa retired 18 of the game’s final 19 batters they faced and the last 16 straight. (Cabrera and Peraza would go hitless in five at-bats with a strikeout.) Tampa’s bullpen needed just 31 pitches (23 strikes) to mow through the Yanks for the game’s final nine outs.
– Aaron Judge struggled the entire weekend in Tampa, he struck out swinging three times and was hitless in four at-bats Sunday. He went 0-for-12 in the series with a walk and eight strikeouts.
– Rodon was on a pitch limit as he looks to work himself back into form after missing the first half of the season with injuries and spending two weeks on the IL in August with a hamstring issue.
And there were flashes that the lefty, who signed a six-year, $162 million deal in the offseason, had all the right stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. Tampa batters swung at 49 of Rodon’s offerings and whiffed on 18 occasions, 10 against the fastball and eight on the slider.
Rodon’s final line: 4.2 innings, four hits, two runs, two earned, two walks, and seven strikeouts on 84 pitches (57 strikes).
– Tommy Kahnle had a scoreless inning of relief in his first appearance since a rough outing Thursday in a loss to Washington. He had a pair of strikeouts but a walk and single made things nervy for the 34-year-old with two outs.
Overall, the Yankees bullpen combined to go 3.1 innings, six hits, five runs (all earned) with one walk and four strikeouts.
The Yankees road trip continues with a four-game series in Detroit, 6:40 p.m. first pitch on Monday night
Coming off his best start of the season, right-hander Luis Severino (3-8, 7.26 ERA) gets the ball to open the series. The Tigers will start righty Reese Olson (2-5, 5.29 ERA).