Game 157: TB vs. NYY — Nearly shut out of the postseason

Today was not a good day for the Yankees. CC Sabathia explained his injury and why he will be out for the rest of the season, which after tonight could be just 5 days away. And then the Yankees lose to the Tampa Bay Rays, completely shutout. One more loss or one more win by the Indians and the Yankees are officially eliminated from any Wild Card spot. Yeah, so it’s a bad day.

So I’ll make the bad news as short as possible.

Starter Hiroki Kuroda really struggled today. His 99 pitches took him into the 6th inning, but by then he allowed 5 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. Those 5 runs are what really pummeled his ERA and sealed the game against the Yankees. In the very 1st inning, on the 3rd pitch of the game, he allowed a solo home run, then a single, an RBI double, and a sacrifice fly. And by the time the Yankees were finally up at bat, the Rays were up 3-0 over the Yankees. And it didn’t get any better.

In the 6th, a walk, a ground-rule double, and an intentional walk loaded the bases. An RBI double easily scored 2 of those runs. 5-0 Rays. So Logan replaces Kuroda for the final out of the 6th. Cabral got one out in the 7th, and Adam Warren came on for the rest of the 7th and the 8th and kept the possibility of a late inning rally alive for the Yankees. So Shawn Kelley takes the mound in the 9th and gives up 2 RBI doubles. When Betances took over for that last out, the Rays led 7-0.

And how did the Yankees answer the Rays’ bats? Four hits and seven walks, including a 13 pitch at-bat by Chris Stewart (he walked). They also benefited from 3 wild pitches by the Rays starter, but none of their runners could capitalize on what was really a sloppy outing by their starter. In total, Yankee batters left 24 runners on base. Tonight, neither team was playing like postseason potentials. And I’m not going to talk about the Yankee defense. It wasn’t Yankee-level defense, with some exceptions like a diving stops by Nunez in the 2nd and 4th and a sliding/tumbling grab by Soriano in the 8th.

Needless to say, it wasn’t a great game overall, and it’s even worse because how close the Yankees are to being eliminated from October baseball. But the Yankees aren’t playing October baseball, and every year they’ve gone as far as the ALCS (even if they lost the ALCS like last year), they spent September playing October baseball. Other teams are playing October baseball, and honestly deserve to play next month for that.

At this point, we all know it will be a miracle. I’m still holding out for a miracle because this is baseball and anything can happen. But the realist in me is trying to make amends with the fact that I’ll most likely be writing about non-Yankees in 6 days. Maybe ’13 really wasn’t the Yankees lucky number.

But again, it’s not over yet. And what was it Yogi said? “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” And it ain’t over yet…

Go Yankees!

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