Monday, July 31, 2023

Yankees Stifled By Tampa Bay On Eve Of Trade Deadline


Jhony Brito pitching to Luke Raley in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Tampa Bay Rays, backed by seven strong innings from Tyler Glasnow, rolled to a 5-1 win over the Yankees on Monday night at Yankee Stadium to open their pivotal three-game series on the eve of the trading deadline.

The Yankees fell to 55-51, and they are now nine games out of first place in the American League East, still in last place in the incredibly tight division, and just 3 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot. 

They have yet to make a trade ahead of the deadline on Tuesday afternoon, and Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said of that hanging over their heads, “We’ll see where the dust settles and then we’ll know this is us, this is our team moving forward or we add something, whatever it ends up being. We’ll see ar the end, you never know, especially now, the minutes, the hours, where things change, so it’s hard to really comment when it’s not done yet.”

The Yankees announced a big change before the game, after Jhony Brito was called up from the minors.

“So, he’s going to start tonight,” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said in his pregame remarks on Monday afternoon. “Domingo German had some discomfort in his arm pit yesterday, so he wasn’t able to do his catch-play yesterday - felt better by the end of the day, feels good today, but we didn’t feel like we could risk sending him out there and then having to pull the plug in the first inning or something, put us in a tough situation. He’s going to see the doctor in, I think, in about an hour (5 pm) just to rule anything out. We don’t think it’s an IL (injured list) situation, but want him to see the doctor and just make sure, and if that’s the case, we’ll slot him in (the rotation) over the next several days.”

Boone was then asked if German had any tests, to which he said “no,” and then was asked if the Yankees bullpen coming in early Sunday night in Baltimore affected this move, and said, “possibly, but getting into a innings situation would have been a tough one today.”

On if German had issues in his last start against the Mets on Tuesday night, Boone said, “no, the bullpen was fine, too; it was yesterday, just in his normal catch-play, he couldn’t go through his catch-play, but then when he went through all his testing, and strength test, and by the end of the night, you know, it was feeling good, so yeah, just something that cropped up yesterday.”

Monday night was the return of Aaron Judge to Yankee Stadium for the first time since May 28. Judge missed nearly two months after suffering a toe injury against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on June 3, and he returned on Friday night in Baltimore. In that game, he was walked three times and went 0-for-1, and on Saturday, he went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI. He was given Sunday night’s game off.

Boone was asked how Judge is feeling, and he said, “Again, it’s day-to-day, feel like he’s in a pretty good spot right now. DH’ing tonight, and then we’ll kind of see where we are tonight. You know, hopefully, he plays the entire series, but we’re going to take it day-by-day.”

Judge struck out looking in the first inning and was walked in his next three at-bats.

A familiar sight: Aaron Judge and his trademark batting stance in the box in the first inning against Tyler Glasnow. Photo by Jason Schott.

Brito had a tough night, as he surrendered a two-run home run to right field to Brandon Lowe in the first inning. 

After the Yankees got one of them back when Jake Bauers blasted a solo shot into the bullpen off Glasnow in the second, Wander Franco sent a solo shot into the second deck in right field in the third inning. That gave the Rays's shortstop 13 home runs and 49 RBI on the season.

Then, in the fourth, Isaac Paredes and Josh Lowe went back-to-back and that made it 5-1 Tampa Bay.

Brito then struck out Jose Siri to end the frame, and the Yankees turned to...Domingo German to relieve him in the fifth inning.

German retired Tampa Bay in order in the fifth, and despite Boone saying they were considered he would only be able to give them one inning, he threw the final five innings. He allowed no runs on two hits and two walks, with four strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Yankees only scraped together a pair of singles after the Bauers homer in the second against Glasnow.

The right-hander went seven innings, and allowed just one run on three hits and two walks, with eight strikeouts, and he is now 5-3 on the season with a 3.15 ERA (earned run average).

Brito fell to 4-5 with a 5.17 ERA, and his final line was: 4 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs (all earned), 0 walks, 4 strikeouts.

Boone addressed the change in events regarding German after the game, and said, "He got cleared with Dr. (Christopher) Ahmad after he saw him in the five o'clock hour, and then Domingo still wanted to go out there and throw off a mound just to make sure he was good - he actually did that around six, I think, and threw a couple off the mound, said he was okay to go, so we wanted to have him available in the bullpen in that case, being short in length."

On whether the Yankees considered just reverting back to German as the starter, Boone said, "I mean, not once he goes out to throw warmup pitches at 6:15 to see if he's okay, like, no, not at that point. You're getting a starter ready, and then you're - so no, that wasn't considered."

In addition to the eight strikeouts Glasnow notched, Robert Stephenson got two in the eighth, and Pete Fairbanks got a pair of K's in the ninth, giving Tampa Bay 12 strikeouts. Combined with the 18 strikeouts Baltimore racked up against the Yankees on Sunday night, that's 30 K's for the Bronx Bombers over two games.

Boone said of the Yankees' offensive futility, "I mean, tonight's a case of, obviously got Glasnow who can do that to you. Even in the games we've had against him over his career, he's gonna punch the tickets. I mean, look, it's a broken record, we've got to do better. You know, it doesn't get any easier, and you know, we've dug ourselves a hole, and if we don't play at a high level, you know, we've got to get there. We're working our asses off to do it, and that's all we can keep doing, but, you know, to keep answering it, it's a broken record - we've got to go do it."

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