- Cary Greene
About Last Night: Rays 5 - Yankees 4
Updated: Jun 30, 2022
by Cary Greene
June 22, 2022
Last night, the Rays bettered the Yankees. It was close, but in the end, the Rays held on and the Yankees lost for the second time in three games.
● Winning Pitcher: Shawn Armstrong (1-1) 1 IP/ 1 H, 2 ER / 3 K, 0 BB / 23-16 PC-ST 5.19 ERA
● Losing Pitcher: Nestor Cortes Jr (6-3) 4.1 IP / 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER / 3 K, 0 BB / 63-46 PC-ST 2.31 ERA
● Yankee Home Runs: Marwin Gonzalez (a 2-run home run in the 9th-inning off Poche)
● Issac Paredes had the second 3 home run game against the Yankees this season. Back in April, Vlad Guerrero Jr also accomplished the feat.
● Last night was the 7th time the Rays had a player hit three home runs in a game, the last time was last year, when Branon Lowe did it…against the Yankees!
● As of today, 32% of the MLB season has been played. The Yankees are now on pace to win 120 games. Obviously - there is a ton of baseball, 68% of the season in fact, remaining to be played.
● Fangraphs has the Yankees chances of making the playoffs are now up to 100%, yet they give the Yankees only have a 13.7% chance of winning the World-Series.
● Fangraphs also has the Yankees chances to win the American League East at 94.9% - which if they can do that, would mean the Yankees would get a first-round bye.
● The Yankees OPS+ of 122 leads all of MLB. Since 1903, the average OPS+ of World Series winners is 103.9
● The Yankees ERA+ is presently 134, second only to the Dodgers who are at an amazing 146. Since 1903, the average World Series winners have averaged a 113.66 ERA+
On June 21st in 1990, 32 years ago this week, Nelson Mandela, who had been freed from prison in South Africa only three months earlier after spending 27 years of his life behind bars because of apartheid, came to Yankee Stadium. He was invited by New York City’s first Black mayor, David Dinkins.
After spending much of his time in Harlem earlier that afternoon, Mandela capped off the day with a concert and rally at Yankee Stadium, in the Bronx! Mandela’s everlasting words to the packed crowd that day endeared him to New York City and to the then last-place Yankees.
After Mayor Dinkins handed Mandela a Yankees jacket and hat, Mandela said, “You know who I am. I am a Yankee!”
○ Isaac Paredes was on fire. He personally knocked in four of the Rays five runs.
○ Giancarlo Stanton, who on June 11th hit the fourth hardest home run ever tracked by Statcast (119.8 mph) is hitting only .043 in his last seven games. Last night he came up in the top of the sixth and hit a ball down the third base line that he decided to watch, instead of instinctively running out of the box. He was thrown out by a step and a half on the play.
The Big Story:
Tampa jumped right out to a 2-0 lead against Yankee lefty Nestor Cortes Jr on back to back home runs, the first one by Isaac Paredes on a Cortes Cutter:
and the second off the bat of Harold Ramirez, again on a Cortes Cutter.
In the top of the second-inning, the relentless, always pressuring Yankee offense got started with a single from Kyle Higashioka and a ground rule double from Marwin Gonzales. Higgy wasn’t able to score on the play per the rules of advancement on a ground rule double - which awards two bases from the time of the pitch to all base runners including the batter.
After Joey Gallo struck out looking on a pitch on the outside corner that was too close to take, Rays manager Kevin Cash removed his lefty opener, Jalen Beeks in favor of righty Shawn Armstrong, with DJ LeMahieu due up. LeMahieu, only batting .230 against righties so far this season (compared to his .304 average against lefties) seemed to have a disadvantage having to face Armstrong, the tough righty, in that spot in the game. But LeMahieu won the matchup
In the bottom of the third-inning, the Rays took a 3-2 lead off Cortes on another Isaac Paredes home run, again off a Cortes Cutter.
In the bottom of the fifth-inning, after Yandy Diaz smoked a Cortes 4-Seamer that was middle-in and with Isaac Paredes, who had already homered twice due up, Aaron Boone had seen enough and to Nestor’s surprise, he was given the early hook in favor Clarke Schmidt - who promptly yielded a two-run dinger to the red hot Paredes. I thought it was an appropriate move by Boone, but it was clearly Isaac's night. (For those wondering how Tampa acquired Paredes, who was once rated as one of the Tigers top hitting prospects, they traded outfielder Austin Meadows to the Tigers for Paredes back in April of this year. The Rays also received a competitive balance-B pick in this year’s 2022 MLB Draft.)
In the top of the eighth-inning, after walks to DJ LeMahieu and Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rizzo popped up to Randy Arozarena in shallow left field and Kevin Cash made another pitching change, pulling lefty Brooks Raley and calling on righty Jasson Adam to face Giancarlo Stanton, with two men on. Stanton looked very off last night but he was robbed of a base hit in that spot, as Rays shortstop made a fine play on a 111.4 mph grounder that he turned into a sparkling double-play to get the Rays out of the inning unscathed.
Gleyber Torres walked in the top of ninth-inning and advanced to second on a passed ball, but Rays righty Colin Poche struck out Aaron Hicks swinging and induced Kyle Higashioka to ground out to shortstop leaving the Yankees were down to their last out but Marwin Gonzalez wasn’t going to be THAT guy. He had other plans. He worked the count to 2 balls and 1 strike and he went yard, smacking a home run to left field.
That brought Aaron Judge off the bench to pinch hit and he missed a home run to left field by about 5 feet and the Rays escaped with a 5-4 win.
Player of the Game:
● Isaac Paredes, with his three home runs, was clearly the difference in last night’s ballgame.
● DJ LeMahieu went 2-3 with a walk, a single and a double and two RBI’s with both hits coming off Rays righties. It was good to see DJ have some success against righties last night, that’s a very positive sign for him as he’s been doing a little better this month against righties - after starting the season batting under .200 against right-handed pitching.
Better to Forget:
● Giancarlo Stanton not running right away on a ground ball to third base. He may have “thought” the ball was foul, but there really isn’t a fundamental excuse in the world I could think of to justify standing there watching to see what happens. It was a disturbing lack of fundamentals from an ice-cold Yankee hitter. Stanton’s timing seemed a bit off on several swings last night as he was pulling off breaking balls away.
● In the top of the 7th inning, Joey Gallo had one of the worst at bats I’ve seen in 2022 thus far. In fact, it was the worst. On a Slider that broke 4 feet off the plate to the outside, Gallo had a weak check-swing attempt, which resulted in yet another Galleon-whiff. Granted the pitch broke 40” vertically and 18” to the outside but Gallo has awful pitch recognition right now, it feels like he’s trying to do too much. There were a couple times last night where he was just swinging away for the fences when he could have altered his approach, but as he often says to the media, “It’s who I am.”
Nestor Cortes was grinding last night, he didn’t have his best stuff he used 57% 4-Seam fastballs through the first three innings, on a night where the Rays were clearly sitting on his Cutter. The Rays forced Cortes to do things differently than he has been approaching lineups so far this season.
On average, Nestor’s Cutter moves 5-inches towards a right handed batter and drops 31 inches. The league average on a Cutter’s horizontal movement is only 2-inches with a 28 inch drop. Cortes uses his cutter to bust right-handed batters on the inner half of the plate and this is a big reason he’s been so effective.
I thought Tampa had a very good game plan last night against Cortes., who normally does a phenomenal job of expanding the strike zone on both sides of the plate, then working even further in and out with cutters and sliders as his out-pitches. Last night, the Rays right-handed batters were really looking for inside cutters and fastballs. Cortes was missing up in the zone and he struggled to hit the outside corner against right-handed batters.
Last night the Rays parade of six relievers after using Jalen Beeks as the opener, the Rays put on a display of how a resourceful manager can play the matchups and this strategy, coupled with a barrage of four home runs, three from Paredes, were just a bit too much for the Yankees to overcome on a night when their best hitter, Aaron Judge, wasn’t in the lineup.
Meredith Marakovitz had some encouraging words to say on a few of the rehabbing Yankees pitchers, so bullpen reinforcements may be on the way soon. Marakovitz reported that Zach Britton is throwing bullpen sessions and that Aroldis Chapman may be ready to begin a rehab assignment with the Somerset Patriots. Also, Domingo German will begin his rehab with the Tampa Tarpons tomorrow night. She also reported that Jonathan Loaisiga is ramping up his rehab program. Lastly, she reported that the Yankees have claimed old friend Albert Abreu off Waivers, Designating David McKay For-Assignment to make room.
Tonight, the Rays host the Yankees at the Trop to conclude this crucial three-game series. Yankees lefty Jordan Montgomery (3-1, 2.72 ERA, 56K), will oppose Rays Rookie Shane Baz (0-1, 5.40 ERA), who is the Rays top pitching prospect. In his recent MLB debut against the Twins, he yielded 5 earned-runs in only 2.1 innings. Baz then rebounded to pitch a two-hitter over 6-innings against the Orioles, striking out 7 batters. First-pitch is set for 7:10 pm.