About Last Night: Yankees 4 - Rays 2
by Cary Greene
June 21, 2022
The Yankees won another game last night. Gerrit Cole was sharp. He took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. Late in the game, the Yankees blew a 2-0 lead, but they got two runs in the 9th and were able to hold on for a 4-2 victory.
● Winning Pitcher: Gerrit Cole (7-1) 7.1 IP / 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER / 12K, 3 BB / 111-71 PC-ST 3.14 ERA
● Losing Pitcher: Jason Adam (0-2) 1 IP/ 2 H, 2 ER / 0 K, 0 BB / 21-12 PC-ST 1.30 ERA
● Yankee Home Runs: Anthony Rizzo (1, 1st-inning, 410 feet 102.8mph to right field off Shane McClanahan)
● The Yankees are on pace to win 119 games this season.
● Fangraphs calculates the Yankees chances of making the playoffs at 100%, yet they figure the Yankees only have a 13.8% chance of winning the World-Series.
● The Yankees OPS+ of 123 leads all of MLB. Since 1903, the average OPS+ of World Series winners is 103.91
● The Yankees ERA+ is presently 133, second only to the Dodgers who are at an amazing 146. Since 1903, the average World Series winners have averaged a 113.66 ERA+
● Last night marked the fourth time a Yankee pitcher took a no-hit bid past the sixth-inning. Gerrit Cole has done it twice this season and the other two were courtesy of Jameson Taillon and Nestor CortesJr.
● On June 20th, 1966 - a mere 56 Years ago, Mickey Mantle rocked two bombs off Detroit's Billy Hoeft, reaching Briggs Stadium’s right-center field bleachers for the first time since the bleachers in that area of the stadium were built 20 years prior.
○ Clay Holmes' scoreless innings streak of 31 1/3 straight innings without giving up a run was snapped last night. It was a streak that began on April 9th!
○ Giancarlo Stanton is hitting only .050 in his last 6 games. He is 1-16.
The Big Story - The stage was set for a big-time clash of arch-rivals and coming into the game, with the chances of a classic pitching duel being high as Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was on the mound and the Rays were opposing him with their staff-ace, Shane McClanahan. The pair didn’t disappoint - combining for 20 strikeouts and only 4 walks over 13.1 innings between them.
Anthony Rizzo got the scoring started by pounding a 4-Seamer from McClanahan deep into the right-field seats - it was a 410-foot signature shot by Rizzo.
The Yankees got an insurance run in the seventh inning, when Jose Trevino was safe at first on an error by Ji-Man Choi, which enabled Gleyber Torres to score.
Meanwhile, Gerrit Cole was extremely sharp, locating his 4-Seam Fastball and Slider with excellent command as he held the Rays hitless through 7.1-innings.
Aaron Boone turned to Clay Holmes in the 8th inning after Cole allowed a hit. With Isaac Peredes on first, Rays manager Kevin Cash brought in Francisco Mejia who promptly doubled, putting runners on second and third with still only one-out. The next batter, Yandy Diaz,bounced out to Holmes, who ranged towards the first base side to make the play and allowed the inherited runner, Paredes, to score. Then, Manuel Margo picked up an infield single to the third base side, which Holmes couldn’t get to in time and just like that, the game was tied 2-2. Not only was the no hitter now a distant memory, but Holmes' 31 ⅓ scoreless-innings streak was also toast.
The next batter, Ji-Man Choi walked and the Rays had a chance to take the lead with Yankee-killer Randy Arozarena up with runners on first and second. Arozarena worked the count full and with the runners going, Arozarena struck out swinging on a sinker in the dirt.
The ninth-inning seemed to begin with the Rays poised to snatch an unlikely victory from the jaws of certain defeat. The crowd, if you could call it that, had come to life. The Lightning were hosting the Avalanche in the Stanley Cup finals last night, so the hockey game no doubt created some attendance related competition last night.
Gleyber Torres flied out Manual Margot in foul territory to lead off the inning, but the 2022 Yankees are a highly resilient team and they weren’t going to roll over and die. Instead, Josh Donaldson singled and with Aaron Hicks swinging, Donaldson took off for second base. It was a brilliant hit and run by Yankee manager Aaron Boone. Hicks wound up just missing a home run to right field as he drove a changeup from Rays reliever Jason Adam deep off the wall on a play on which Manuel Margo went flying off the ground in pursuit of the ball, looking a bit like Superman as he just missed making a spectacular catch. Donaldson scored from first base in electrifying fashion and Hicks wound up with a triple, despite not running at first and instead taking a nice long look at what he thought was a home run.
Margo injured his knee landing awkwardly after crashing into the wall and had to be carted off the field. The next batter, Jose Trevino, came through with a massively important sacrifice fly to deep left field to drive in Hicks and in breathtaking fashion, the Yankees were back in front 4-2
Aaron Boone turned to Wandy Peralta to get the save, but he walked Vidal Brujan before getting pinch-hitter Harlold Ramirez to fly out for the first out in the ninth-inning. DJ LeMahieu then made a rare throwing error on a fielder’s choice at second base and the Rays suddenly had runners on first and second. Peralta seemed to revel in the pressure of the situation and he struck out Rays rookie Josh Lowe looking on a filthy 95.8 mph sinker to set the stage for the game’s final pivotal moment as the Rays were finally down to their last out. Francisco Meja, then lifted a shallow fly ball to center that Aaron Hicks was able to snare to end the game.
Player of the Game:
● Gerrit Cole was dominant early, striking out 6 in a row at one point through the first three-innings and it was obvious he was extremely sharp. He was able to carry a no-hitter into the eighth-inning, but it was broken up by a single from Isaac Paredes. Though he turned in an outstanding performance, he was denied the chance at picking up a win when the Rays broke through against Clay Holmes in the eighth inning.
● Gleyber Torres made a very slick play in the first inning on a Manuel Margo ground ball, nailing the speedy Margo easily.
● Aaron Hicks went 2-4 and he won the game with both his bat and his glove. His ninth-inning Triple was as clutch as it gets!
Better to Forget:
● Clay Holmes had an uncharacteristically shaky 8th inning and as a result, he put the Yankees in a very difficult spot heading into the ninth inning.
My Take - It was a typical, tightly contested game between the Yankees and the Rays, who are presently nowhere near full strength with all the injuries they are dealing with. Last night’s game serves as a reminder of just how good the Rays actually are and as dominant as the Yankees have been this season - the playoffs will be highly competitive in the American League this season as the Blue Jays, the Red Sox, Rays, and Astros - along with the Yankees are all teams that could easily get hot and go on a roll that ends with a World Series championship.
That said, it was another resilient showing by the Yankees, who wound up winning their 50th game of the young season. It was a great way to open the series, it was an impressive bounce-back win after losing for the first time all season when scoring 9 runs or more on Sunday and it was a thrilling win that literally came out of nowhere.
Kudos to Aaron Hicks for getting a massively important hit. A salute to Aaron Boone as well for putting on the hit and run in a huge spot in the game, sending Josh Donaldson with Hicks swinging. I loved watching every minute of this game and despite the Rays being so banged up, they were impressive in defeat. Win number 50 is now in the books and Nasty Nestor goes for the Yankees tonight!
Up Next - Tonight the Rays host the Yankees at the Trop in what amounts to a crucially important game for Tampa. Yankees lefty Nestor Cortes Jr. (6-2, 1.94 ERA, 75K), will oppose a starter who is yet to be determined. First-pitch is set for 7:10 pm.