Rays 8, Yankees 7

Today’s Yankee Birthday: Happy Birthday to 1957 ERA leader Bobby Shantz! Probably the friendliest Major Leaguer I’ve ever met. https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/22649411

Today’s pregame notes: http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/documents/5/6/8/296115568/NYY_Game_Notes_09_26_18_at_Tampa_Bay.pdf

Game Summary: The game started off with an eventful first inning, as the Yanks got on the board 3-0 after a Neil Walker home run. Not to be denied, Tampa came back with three runs to tie the contest in the bottom of the frame. Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka seemed to struggle with his command, walking and hitting a batter, mixed in with three Rays’ singles and a Tanaka error.

In the bottom of the third Tammy Pham crushed a solo homer to centerfield put Tampa up 4-3. The Yanks loaded the bases in the fifth inning, but Giancarlo Stanton’s double play grounder ended the threat.

After the first inning the Rays’ committee of relievers held the Yanks to only three singles through eight. Tampa added four runs in the bottom of the eighth off of David Robertson and Justus Sheffield.

In the top of the ninth, the Yankees finally found their bats. Gary Sanchez walked to lead off the inning and after a Gleyber Torres strikeout, singles by Brett Gardner, Andrew McCutchen, Aaron Judge, Luke Voit and Stanton brought the Yanks within a run. Voit’s hit was just crushed off of the centerfield wall, so close leaving the ballpark and tying the game. Afterwards, Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar were both retired, and the Rays escaped with an 8-7 win.

What went right: Aroldis Chapman hurled a scoreless seventh, striking out two batters and bringing it as high as 99 MPH…Jonathan Holder and Chad Green also hurled scoreless innings…Gary Sanchez made a real nice throw to nab Willy Adames trying to steal second base to end the sixth inning…Voit just keeps hitting – he had three hits and two RBI…Judge had two hits and an RBI…McCutchen reached base three times.

What went wrong: Tanaka’s outing….Sloppy fielding, with errors by Tanaka and Sheffield along with another Sanchez passed ball….Robertson’s inability to keep the game close.

Here’s the boxscore: https://www.mlb.com/gameday/yankees-vs-rays/2018/09/26/531779#game_state=final,game_tab=box,game=531779

Quote: “He’s very much in that mix…we know absolutely what he is capable of, especially his track record of pitching in big games” – Aaron Boone on Tanaka and his upcoming decision on the Wild Card game starting pitcher.

Takeaways:  Chapman and Judge look to be rounding back into shape, which is a very good thing.

Final Thought: Almost a great comeback!

Next: Tomorrow afternoon - last game of the series and at the Trop (where the Yanks are 3-6 on the season) in 2018. Won’t miss that place a bit! CC Sabathia’s last start of the season and if things don’t shake out right in the postseason and offseason, perhaps his last as a Yankee.