About Last Night: The Yankees Beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-5
By Tim Kabel
May 13, 2023
The Yankees entered last night's game in last place in the American League East. They lost the first game of the series against the Rays on Thursday night by a wide margin. The Yankees’ best pitcher, Gerrit Cole was on the mound. If they lost this game, it could have had some serious negative ramifications. They would have sunk further back in the standings and would have set a negative tone for the weekend. Don't forget, after this series, the Yankees will play the Blue Jays. They need to improve their performance as a team and as individuals if they are going to compete this season.
Last night, the Yankees were trailing 2-1 going into the bottom of the 5th inning. The Yankees fought back and tied the game and then took the lead in the seventh inning. The Rays went ahead in the top of the eighth but the Yankees, led by Anthony Rizzo, on his bobble head night, came back to win the game. This is the type of victory the Yankees need to get back into the race and to be a championship caliber team.
Quick Stats -
Before last Sunday’s game, Gerrit Cole had not allowed a home run in 51 innings this season. In two games against the Rays, he has allowed four home runs.
On Thursday night, Drew Rasmussen pitched 7 shutout innings, allowing two hits against the Yankees. Yesterday, he was placed on the 60-day IL with a flexor strain in his pitching elbow.
The Yankees are 12-3 when they score five or more runs in a game this season.
In addition to the heroics provided by Anthony Rizzo, the Yankees had big hits from Anthony Volpe and Oswaldo Cabrera, who have both been struggling lately. Both of these hits came in the 7th inning to help the Yanks take the lead.
Ian Hamilton pitched another scoreless inning in relief, striking out the side, despite giving up 2 hits.
Yesterday would have been Yogi Berra's 98th birthday.
The Big Story -
The Yankees began the day in last place in the American League East. They ended the day in last place in the American League East. This was an exciting and stimulating victory, but it was just one game. The Yankees need to play this way on a consistent and regular basis. It can't just be once a week or once in a series. They have to string together victories and go on a sustained winning streak. The Rays will hit a rough patch this season. It is inevitable. It happens to every team every season. However, if the Yankees continue to take two steps forward, one step back all season, it won't matter what the Rays do.
Player of the Game -
Anthony Rizzo had two home runs and drove in three runs on his Mandalorian bobblehead night. I must admit I don't know what a Mandalorian is. I thought it was that musical instrument that sort of looks like a guitar.
Notable Performance -
Anthony Volpe had two hits, including a home run, and drove in two runs.
Better to Forget-
Michael King had a rare off night, giving up three runs and the lead in the 8th inning. I wouldn't worry too much about him.
My Take -
The Yankees are not a consistent team right now. They are a few games over .500 and that is because they just beat up the lowly Oakland A's earlier this week. Inconsistency has been a pattern throughout the tenure of Aaron Boone as manager. It seems that every year they go through a streak where they are just not very good. They also go through streaks where they are, in fact, very good. As I have noted multiple times, Aaron Boone never seems to have an idea of what causes either type of streak.
Right now, the Yankees are in last place in the American League East. They trail the Rays by eight games. They play the Rays two more times this weekend but then don't play them again until the end of July. They trail the Rays 3-2 in the season series so far. I know it's early, but these are important games. They only have six games left with the Rays after this weekend. If they have a huge deficit, it will be near impossible to make up enough ground in the standings later on with only six head-to-head games left.
In addition, it's all well and good to beat the Oakland A's but, if the Yankees are truly serious about being in the World Series, they need to beat better competition and the teams in their own division. The next two games are very important as are the four after that against the Toronto Blue Jays. Although it is still fairly early in the season, the Yankees need to start building something positive if they are going to do anything of note this year. In other words, they can't play slightly above 500 for another month.
Luis Severino is headed back to the Major League team fairly soon. There is speculation that Giancarlo Stanton could be doing the same in a few weeks. It is unclear when Carlos Rodon will return. He is supposedly going to throw this weekend and then we will have a better indication of what lies ahead for him. Josh Donaldson is possibly going to be starting a rehab assignment in the near future but, I don't know if anyone is very excited about that.
The returning players will help this team but they need to be more consistent. I have written many times that I don't believe Aaron Boone is a very good manager. He makes a lot of dubious decisions and does not seem to have the ability to inspire his team. We now have to consider that his message, which was already somewhat weak, may be getting stale because he is now in his sixth season at the helm.
As we enter the middle of May, we are entering a crucial part of the season for the Yankees and for Aaron Boone. They trail four teams in the American League East. They need to move up in the standings and cut the deficit between them and the first-place Rays. In order to do that, they need to win, instead of counting on the other teams to lose. The Yankees need to take care of their own business. If they continue to float along slightly above 500 for another month, it will be very difficult to win the division, simply because they would need to pass four teams to do so. They could still win a wild card but, that makes advancing in the postseason much more difficult.
There were very high expectations for the Yankees entering this season. So far, after 1/4 of the season, they are not living up to those expectations. Things need to change, or changes may be made. It is conceivable that if the Yankees don't turn things around, Aaron Boone might not make it until the end of the season.
Next Up -
Today, the Yankees play the third game of a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05 PM at Yankee Stadium. Nestor Cortes (3-2, 4.74 ERA) will face Tampa Bay's Shane McClanahan (7-0 1.76 ERA).