The New York Yankees fell to the Tampa Bay Rays in the final game of a four-game series on Sunday afternoon by a score of 4-3.
In what was a fantastic outing for starting pitcher James Paxton, the Yankees’ offense wasn’t able to produce much run support after the fifth inning. The Bombers got their offense going in the first inning when Mike Ford was hit by a pitch with the bases juiced, subsequently driving in a run. In the fifth inning, a fielding error by the Rays’ centerfielder Manuel Margot allowed Gio Urshela to earn a triple, scoring two runs.
This was the first series loss for the Yankees on the year, as they currently sit at 10-5. They will take on the Atlanta Braves at home at Yankee Stadium starting Tuesday.
Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees following the defeat:
The good news is that Paxton is slowly getting back to his usual self. Through 6.1 innings, he allowed four hits and three earned runs. However, it was the most action he has entertained the entire season and gave up back to back homers to end his afternoon. Up until his exit, he was dominant, securing 11 strikeouts. Having their number two starter back in action and playing at a high-level is what the Yankees need to continue dominating.
Gerrit Cole has been an automatic win up to this point, but they cannot continue to rely on him in that way. They must have some support other than their primary ace.
On the offensive side, the only player that really stood out was DJ LeMahieu. Over four at-bats, he secured two hits, one run, and walked one time. He currently has a .397 batting average with a .426 on-base percentage. He leads the team in OBP and BA. He had the third-highest slugging percentage in the lineup for the Yankees on Sunday at .517.
The Yankees desperately need their offense to reignite, and with Giancarlo Stanton expected to miss at least a week with an injured hamstring, it will be difficult for them to supplement his loss.
The bad news was primarily on offense, aside from Jonathan Holder working a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning. Lucky for him, LeMahieu managed to claw his team out of a tough situation with one out. An impressive 5-4-3 double play earlier in the inning.
Holder has been inconsistent for the Yankees thus far, but Zack Britton put the final touches on the loss. With two outs and runners on third and second, Britton allowed a single to right field that gave the Rays the winning run. The Yankees desperately miss their store closer, Aroldis Chapman, right now, but he’s expected to return to the team next week.
Aside from the pitching woes, Gary Sanchez struck out twice and looked unreliable behind the plate. His inability to frame pitches cost the Yankees some deserved strikes, and a passed ball late in the game allowed runners to advance. The catcher position is coming under more scrutiny with every passing day at this point.