Weekend Recap: Yankees vs. Rays

Friday (NYY 7 TB 5)- This was a strange game, from the snail's pace at which Tampa starter Blake Snell pitched to the multiple unnecessary early rain delays to the subsequent pitcher usage decisions to Mark Teixeira jumping back in the time machine and having a vintage Mark Teixeira game.  His grand slam was the lead-expanding blow the Yankees needed to make it to the finish.  A return to Dingerland for Gary Sanchez didn't hurt either.

Saturday (NYY 5 TB 1)- Friday night it was all about the offense.  Saturday it was all about the pitching, specifically Masahiro Tanaka and his latest Cy Young-caliber outing.  Tanaka completely overwhelmed the Rays lineup for 7 shutout innings with 10 strikeouts before tiring and giving up a garbage time home run in the 8th.  The bats made sure that was no concern with back-to-back homers by Ellsbury and Sanchez in the 6th and a couple of insurance runs in the 8th.

Sunday (TB 4 NYY 2)- Luis Cessa got bit by the long ball early and late in his outing, as the Rays touched him up for 4 runs on 3 long balls in 5.2 innings.  That should not have been too bad of a hill to climb for the offense, but it wasn't to be on this day.  The middle of the order struggled to put anything together and Brett Gardner's 3-hit day from the leadoff spot was mostly wasted.  If you want a positive out of this one, Luis Severino looked pretty good in relief again.

So another failed sweep attempt, but all in all a pretty good weekend for the Yankees.  They wake up this morning 4 games back in the division and 2 in the Wild Card, with playoff odds over 10%.  They're going to have a challenge facing the Dodgers and their dynamic young pitching + Kershaw, but they're right smack in the middle of it, just like Hal said.