New York Yankees: 3 takeaways from the shutout of the Rays

Oct 5, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; New York Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka (left) talks to starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning in game one of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the New York Yankees have had a lot of trouble winning games off the Tampa Bay Rays the last few years, including in the postseason. Before this series, they had won only one of six games against their nemesis this season. But Tuesday, they beat the Rays 3-1, and last night the Yankees shut them out using only two pitchers.

Gerrit Cole hits a milestone

1,500 is the number. That number represents the milestone that New York Yankee ace pitcher Gerrit Cole reached as he ended the night with 1,502 strikeouts in his career. Cole is the second-fastest pitcher to reach that total in MLB history, only behind Randy Johnson. 172 of those strikeouts are since he has become a Yankee.

Last night Cole took the mound at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida, in the first inning, and Randy Arozarena went down on strikes. Austin Meadows hit the catwalk at Tropicana Field for a double. Margot ground out, but Meadows went to third. Brandon Lowe struck out to end the inning. And that was pretty much how all the innings went for Cole.

He pitched eight scoreless innings. While reaching his strikeout milestone, he stuck out 12 batters using 106 pitches while allowing no walks. He was masterful and likely could have completed the game himself, but that is not allowed very often these days. Aroldis Chapman came out in the bottom of the ninth inning and got the save. Chapman has not allowed a single run all season.

Yankee hitters still aren’t hitting

The New York Yankees won the game last night, but it was all about superb pitching, not Yankee hitting. The Yankees hit no home runs in the game and only mustered up six hits, only getting one to cross home plate.  If the Yankee pitchers hadn’t shut down the Rays, the Yankees surely would have lost this game.

Hitting has been a big problem for the Yankees so far this season. Only Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and DJ LeMahieu have been performing as they should. The rest of the lineup is sub-par, with eight Yankees, including those on the bench hitting .200 or less.

Yankees win with limited staff

The Yankees won last night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, but they did it with far less staff than normal. Seven coaches and support staff have now been tested positive for the Covid 19 virus. So far, no Yankee players have tested positive, although Gleyber Torres was kept out of the lineup last night undergoing the Covid protocol.

This all started with Phil Nevin, the 3rd base coach testing positive. All but one case is asymptomatic. The Yankee’s player development coach has been coaching at first base, and Yankee bench coach Carlos Mendoza has been covering third base for Phil Nevin.