Game 17: TB vs. NYY — No sweep dreams tonight

It was another beautiful day for baseball. Apparently, the Rays thought so too, and just swung away with their bats like there was no tomorrow. To be perfectly honest, the Rays and Yankees are basically fighting for “not last place” in the AL East right now. It’s just not a great month for either of them.

And it certainly wasn’t a great day for the Yankees or starter Michael Pineda. Okay, the reality is that he pitched beautiful strikes. But the Rays saw them coming and just smacked them out of the park. Repeatedly. Pineda threw 103 total pitches in just 5 innings, gave up 10 hits, a walk, and 7 runs (4 of them home runs), and still struck out 9 batters.

Being perfectly honest here, the game was clearly lost in the 1st inning. Pineda quickly got 2 outs and then just got hammered by the heart of the Rays’ lineup — a double, a 2-run home run, a single, an RBI double, and another 2-run home run to cap off the Rays’ 5-run inning. Fans were literally booing as the Yankees trudged off the field. Then things seemed to get better except for a couple of just perfect pitches — a lead-off solo home run in the 3rd and a 2-out solo home run in the 5th. (Trivia bit: the latter home run hitter, who also hit one of the 2-run homers in the 1st, is celebrating his 27th birthday today, a birthday to remember for sure.)

Again, not the greatest day for the Yankees or Pineda, but the bullpen came through fairly strong once again in the form of Kirby Yates and Nick Goody, taking 2 innings a piece. They added another 7 strikeouts to the Yankees whopping total of 16 today (a rather odd number in the light of how many runs they also gave up). Goody also gave up a 2-out solo homer in the 8th, but at that point, another run was really just redundant for the Rays.

The Yankees lone contribution to the scoreboard came at the bottom of the 4th. Brett Gardner ducked to avoid an inside pitch and still managed to get plunked right on the top of his helmet, so he took 1st base and moved to 2nd on a ground out. Then, it was Alex Rodriguez’s long double (just inches from clearing the left field wall to be a home run) that scored Gardner. And while the Yankees collected 6 hits and a walk today, there wasn’t anything more than that sole run scored by Gardner.

Final score: 8-1 Rays, no sweep but the Yankees take series 2-1.

The Yankees make their way to Texas tonight to face the Rangers for a 3 game series before heading back up to the northeast for the first true rivalry game of the season at Fenway.

The All-Star Game is July 12 in San Diego this year, and it’s that time of year to start fan-voting for your favorite players to be in the starting line-up. You can vote up to 5 times per 24 hour period and up to 35 times total (so vote for 7 days straight, 5 times a day). Voting ends June 30 at 11:59 pm EST. Each entry submits you into a contest to win 2 tickets to all the All-Star Game festivities — including the Fan Fest, the Workout Day and Home Run Derby, and the All-Star Game itself. Good luck!

Young prospect infielder Sandy Acevedo was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic last night. The Yankees honored his loss with a moment of silence before today’s game. Acevedo was just 18 years old. Our prayers are with his family as they grieve his loss.

Injury updates: Okay, so it seems that Alex Rodriguez tweaked an oblique taking swings in the cage between innings and was pulled from the game in the 6th and sent to get an MRI. Also, the saga continues with Branden Pinder as he is on his way to see Dr. James Andrews to get a 2nd opinion on his partially torn UCL before jumping into the surgical path, but I think the common thought is that Tommy John surgery may be the best option for the young pitcher.

Now, with Rodriguez and Hicks on a watch-and-see, the Yankees might make a move to replace one or both of them for their road trip. So, I guess, that means we’re all on a watch-and-see too.

And today was Carlos Beltran’s 39th birthday. A very happy birthday to him!

Go Yankees!

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