Apparently, tonight’s game in Tampa was the longest 1-0 game ever played at 208 minutes (or if you’re not so good with the math, that’s 3 hours and 28 minutes). And believe me, it very much felt like a 3 1/2 hour game. But I’ve discovered that games at the Trop often feel this way, among other interesting stadium-related peccadilloes, a sentiment that seemed to be echoed by a pre-game press conference Jeter dodging questions about what he liked best about playing at the Trop. (For all you Rays fans out there: I do have some say in this; I grew up in the Tampa area before they created the franchise and have frequented the area and the stadium in the years since. Still hasn’t changed my mind.)
I wish I could say it was a pitching duel, because that’s what the numbers seem to line up with. But let’s face it: the Yankees and the Rays are the least run-producing teams in the AL, so a no-run game through the 9th inning doesn’t really come as much of a surprise. Chris Capuano started for the Yankees and went 101 pitches over 6 innings, allowing just 2 hits, striking out 4 Rays batters, but giving up 4 walks. Don’t get me wrong on my previous statements, Capuano did an excellent job tonight, and kept the Rays from doing anything at all, which they can do from time to time.
On the other side of things, the Yankees certainly made the Rays’ starter work hard, taking him 113 pitches into the 7th inning, but they couldn’t cobble a run of their 6 hits and a walk off him.
Adam Warren took the 7th and 8th, keeping the Rays scoreless and hitless over his tenure. It would be Shawn Kelley to struggle his way through the 9th inning. Two singles and two outs, the Yankees were looking for one out to get out of the inning, but a walk loaded bases and set the 13,000-ish Tampa (though really, there were a lot of Yankee fans in that mix) on edge and cheering. A single easily scored that 1 walk-off run the Rays needed for victory tonight.
And that was the ball game. 1-0 Rays in a bottom of the 9th, 2-out, bases loaded situation.
Masahiro Tanaka threw a simulated game in Tampa today against the Instructional League at Steinbrenner Field. He topped out about 92 mph (not surprising), and some comments were made about how his last attempt at a sim game was sharper. But this all depends on how he feels tomorrow and the next couple of days. Should he feel back to himself, Tanaka could be pitching in the Bronx this weekend. Basically, the young pitcher will be under the microscope for a while, as he continues to the long path to full recovery and health until they trust his arm not to give out on him again.
This story feels awfully familiar, and it’s getting old. Can everyone just get and stay healthy? And win some ball games already?