New York Yankees Postseason Recap: Yankees strike out 18 times in loss to the Rays, Series tied up at 1

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Aaron Boone
Feb 16, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees entered Petco Park in San Diego last evening with their outlook looking encouraging.  They just came off a big win in the ALDS last night, their whole lineup was alive and hitting, and their high paid star Giancarlo Stanton was as hot as he has been for the Yankees. Their new $324 million man on the mound Gerrit Cole had performed like the ace he is. So, what went wrong last night; everything.

Last night was a night with more questions than hits.  The New York Yankees only got five hits while striking out 18 times. Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays starter Tyler Glasnow was good, but the Yankees missed opportunity after opportunity. No team in the history of baseball in the modern era has ever struck out 18 times in a nine-inning game.  That just can’t happen in the postseason when in a short series.

Question number two is what was manager Aaron Boone thinking. Why have total faith in a highly praised pitching prospect Deivi Garcia, and then pull him after giving up just one run? Boone is notorious for leaving pitchers in too long, even after giving up five runs. Another question is, why bring in a starting pitcher to relieve him and blow two starters in one game when you short starters anyway? Maybe the bigger question is why didn’t Boone start their tried and true successful postseason starter Masahiro Tanaka in a Game 2, and put the ALDS further out of reach of the Rays?

Another question is why would MLB send out C.B. Bucknor to call balls and strikes in a crucial postseason game.  Angel Hernandez and C.B. Bucknor are two of the worst ball and strike callers of all the MLB umpires? Both of these men are so bad they can affect the outcome of the game. I am not making excuses for the Yankees striking out, but several of those called strikes weren’t even close. At one point in the game, Brett Gardner nearly jumped out of the dugout at Bucknor. He was just as bad against both teams, but it more affected the Yankees.

The game started out with the 21-year-old Deivi Garcia on the mound, the youngest Yankee to ever start a postseason game.  Garcia had earned the right; he pitched well in his six starts.  With two outs in the first, Garcia gave up a homer to Randy Arozarena. At the bottom of the second inning, Giancarlo Stanton stepped to the plate and took Glasnow for a long ball into the right-field porch tying up the game at one apiece.

Then in a very puzzling move, Garcia didn’t’ come out to pitch the second inning. Boone sent out J.A. Happ, his third starter.  Starters have a routine they go through; they are not used to being called in to relieve other starters.  From the go, it was apparent that Happ didn’t have it; He gave up two runs in the second and two runs in the third inning, before pulling him two outs later. At the top of the fourth the Yankees with two on base, Giancarlo Stanton hit his second home run, a three-run blast the put the Yankee back in the game. Rays 5, Yankees 4.

From then on, the Yankees fought to gain the lead, but it just didn’t happen as the Yankees burned out their bullpen using six pitchers on the night, in a failed attempt to win a game 2. The Yankees lost 7-5. I don’t know if it was Aaron Boone, Kevin Cashman, or the analytics department, but the huge Gamble in strategy just plain failed.  If the New York Yankees lose the ALDS to the Ray, critics will look back on the gamble and point to it as the loss factor. Tyler Glasnow struck out 10 and took the win. Happ suffered the loss. Pete Fairbanks got the save for the Rays.

The only really good takeaway from the game was Giancarlo Stanton, who seems to be trying to carry the team on his back.  Yesterday I wrote an article on if Stanton could carry the team to a 28th World Championship. Last night it looked as, so that was the case.  Stanton had two homers in the game, one for 458′. Stanton has had at least a homer in each of his four postseason games.

Tonight at Petco Park, Masahiro Tanaka will take the mound at 7:10 pm EDT for the Yankees.  He will face the seasoned veteran Charlie Morton for the Rays. Tanaka will start the game tied in the ALDS with a blown-out bullpen to back him up.  The Yankees will need Tanaka to go deep into the game if they are going to have any chance of winning tonight’s game. The Yankees must win this game; they can’t afford another ugly night they endured last night.