The New York Yankees fell to 3-4 on the season after dropping the first game of their series against the Tampa Bay Rays 10-5 at Tropicana Field on Friday. The two teams are set to play the second tilt on Saturday, as Domingo German will take the ball for the Bronx Bombers.
By failing to win, the Yankees didnâ€™t send the message they intended. â€œI mean, we always want to send a message,â€ manager Aaron Boone said to MLB.com. â€œWe always want you to know who youâ€™re playing. But the message is sent throughout the year with our play, and we have to play consistent and play well. And if we do that, weâ€™ll be the team we expect to be.â€
For a second start in a row, Yankeesâ€™ starter Corey Kluber didnâ€™t produce the best results on an evening in which he faced a sneaky good offense.
Kluber, signed by the Yankees this year to a one-year, $11 million contract, could only pitch 2 1/3 innings and ended up allowing five runs, three of which were earned. However, he was affected by iffy defensive play and some bad batted ball luck.
The Yankeesâ€™ starter had some terrible luck
As Jordan Horrobin pointed out, the second inning features three hits by the Rays with expected batting averages below .200, according to Statcast data. Two of those hitters came around to score and spoil Kluberâ€™s line.
â€œThatâ€™s one of the funny things about baseball,â€ Kluber said. â€œI actually felt better about the way I executed pitches today, the way I felt out there. All you can do as a pitcher, honestly, is try to execute pitches. Once it leaves your hand, youâ€™ve gotta flush whatever happens and move on to the next one.â€
While itâ€™s true that Kluberâ€™s velocity has been down slightly to this point compared to the last season in which he pitched with some regularity, which is 2019, the Yankeesâ€™ veteran isnâ€™t worried. His four-seamer has been averaging between 88 and 90 miles per hour and his sinker has been around 90. The former was at 92 mph and the latter at 91.3 two years ago. However, he said that velocity is â€œprobably the furthest thing from my mind.â€
Kluber has been historically better during the summer months than during April or May. The Yankees are hoping thatâ€™s still the case and he can turn things around.