New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from the loss to the Rays in the finale

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton
Oct 7, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; New York Yankees designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (27) hits a two run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the eighth inning during game three of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees lost the series finale to the Tampa Bay Rays as the Rays swept the Yankees and caused the Yankees to lose the last six series with the Rays. The Rays have definitely been the Yankees nemesis over the last few years and have only intensified this season, with the Yankees only taking one game of the first six games of this season against the Rays.

Defense hurts the Yankees

Yesterday at Yankee Stadium, the Rays again took a game away from the New York Yankees, partially due to some abysmal defensive play. Yesterday Gerrit Cole had his fourth start of the season. He pitched well through 109 pitches but was challenged in the game by some pretty sloppy Yankee defense. Gio Urshela overshot first base in what should have been an out. Aaron Hicks had a horrible defensive night bobbling two balls hit to him, and Clint Frazier aiming for second base, nearly caught the first baseman off guard by throwing far beyond second base.

The mistakes only cost the Yankees one run, but in a season when the Yankees aren’t hitting, it was an important factor in the Yankee loss. The New York Yankees are 26th in committing the most errors. They are experiencing almost one error per game. Many of which have caused runners to cross the plate, leading to Yankee losses. Only four teams have an error record worse than the Yankees.

Yesterday Yankee ace Gerrit Cole pitched an excellent game, but the Yankees’ poor field play challenged him. He went into the seventh inning of the game, giving up two earned runs while striking out 10 Rays and allowing no walks. Of the several Yankee mistakes, only one bobbled play by Aaron Hicks was called an error. Because he got little run support, he was saddled with his first loss of the season.

New York Yankee hitting still lacking

Yesterday against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Yankee could only get 3 hits against Ray’s pitching. Only getting 3 hits in a game means you are going to lose many games. The Yankees’ poor hitting has dogged them since the beginning of the season in all but a handful of games. Yesterday only DJ Lemahieu and Giancarlo Stanton drove in runs, showing that the situational hitting still isn’t there.

In this series against the Rays, the New York Yankees have only hit .176 across the three games, with the Rays scoring nearly twice as many runs. After Kittredge started the game, the Rays reliever Ryan Yarbrough held the Yankees scoreless for 6 innings. Also troubling is that when the Yankees go into the ninth inning losing, they will almost surely lose the game as they are only hitting .118 in the ninth inning in the first 15 games.

Other than DJ LeMahieu, Kyle Higashioka Brett Gardner, and Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankee hitters are just not hitting, and situational hitting has almost been absent, with many hitters hitting into double plays. Clint Frazier, whose play in left field, is about to lose his everyday play because he also is not hitting. His batting average is now is just .167, and he has gone 67 plate appearances without driving in a run. He has yet to have a run driven in going back to the postseason.

The New York Yankees are now 5-10 on the season, their worst start in 24 years. It’s their worst start since 1997, when they went 5-10 to start the season. However, in 1997 after that bad start, they won 19 or their next 26 games. The way this team is hitting that kind of recovery doesn’t seem likely. The Yankees are at the very bottom of the American League. The Yankees are digging themselves into a hole.

Giancarlo Stanton hits his 3rd home run

Giancarlo Stanton has been one of the few bright spots this season and yesterday hit his 3rd home run in 13 games. He leads the team in RBI’s with 12 on the season. His batting average is below average at just .176, but his plate discipline has been better, and hit situational hitter has been better than most. If he continues to hit home runs at this pace, he could have as many as 40 home runs on the season. He now ties Aaron Judge in home runs. Judge, however, is second on the team in hits with a batting average of .255 after striking out 3 times yesterday.