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  • Mike Whiteman

About Yesterday: Yankees 3, Rays 2

By Mike Whiteman 5/7/2023 Born on this day in 1896 was Tom Zachary. The crafty lefty yielded Babe Ruth’s 60th home run in 1927 while playing for Washington, then joined the Yankees in 1928 and threw a complete game win in Game Three of the World Series. He went 12-0, 2.48 in 1929. One hundred twenty years ago, the Boston Americans beat the New York Highlanders in front of 5,462 spectators at the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds in Boston. The efficient hour and thirty-eight minute contest was the first encounter of what would become perhaps the most storied rivalry in sports history.

Quick Stats: The Yankees are 18-16 on the season and have won three of their last four contests . They are nine games behind the Rays in the American League East. They are playing at an 86-win pace. Ian Hamilton earned the first save of his career.

Big Story: The Yanks sent Domingo German to the mound, hoping to even the series with their division rival. German provided a gutsy effort, allowing just two runs (both in the first inning) over five innings pitched. The New York offense continued their anemic ways as they didn’t get on the scoreboard through the first seven innings. The eighth saw the Yanks put a three-spot on the board on the strength of an RBI double by DJ LeMahieu and a two-run single by Harrison Bader. Aaron Boone then put the ball, and the game, in Clay Holmes’ hands and he threw an uneventful eighth inning, aided by inducing a double play grounder. For the ninth, in a bit of a surprise, Boone turned to Ian Hamilton to close it out. Hamilton came through despite allowing a double to Luke Raley, and the Yanks took a game that earlier looked lost.

Yankees 3, Rays 2. Player of the Game: Bader’s single in the eighth inning was the crucial blow of the game. He came into the contest as a pinch hitter for Jake Bauers in the seventh and had two hits on the day. He’s provided a nice spark in his four games with the team. Notable Performances: Ron Marinaccio came on in the sixth inning, got out of a jam, and threw a scoreless seventh. He was the winning pitcher. Better to Forget: Aaron Hicks was hitless in four at bats, three times stranding runners in scoring position. With Aaron Judge due to come off the IL on Tuesday a roster move will need to be made. While I suspect that Hicks’ spot on the team is safe (I wouldn’t be surprised to see Oswaldo Cabrera head back to the minors a short while to get his stroke back), it’s still not a good time to have a lousy game.

They Said It: “It’s the greatest game in the word. I missed it so much. To be back on the field, in this uniform, means the world to me every single day. “– Harrison Bader “That was a good time” – Ian Hamilton on pitching the ninth inning of yesterday’s game. My take: If I were having coffee with Aaron Boone after the game, I would ask him 1) Why was Harrison Bader not starting? 2) Why with a one-run lead to protect in the eighth was Isiah Kiner-Falefa moved from center field to play right field for the first time in his career with Cabrera, a highly-regarded right fielder on the bench? IKF did just fine, but hmmmmm…… It sure looks like Clay Holmes isn’t the closer right now, but who, if anyone, is? Mike King has established himself as perhaps the Yanks most reliable reliever and one of the better firemen in MLB, but the team really likes him in the multi-inning role. I’ve said before I like Holmes as a setup guy and his Yankee numbers seem to support keeping him there. In his post-game comments, Boone gave the indication that he would mix and match appropriate relievers as situations presented themselves (my paraphrase). One can’t help but to be happy for Hamilton. In his postgame comments, he really appeared pleased to be on the team, and grateful for the opportunity to close the game out. All in all, a good, scrappy win. Tampa Bay is a real good team, there’s no doubt about it. A nine-game deficit will be tough to overcome by the Yanks, but not impossible. Here are two sets of numbers that have me not throwing in the towel on the season: 17-2 0-0 The first numbers – the Rays’ record against the White Sox, Tigers, Reds, A’s and Nationals. The second set is the Yankees record against the same teams. The Rays have played 19 games against sub-.500 teams, the Yankees 12 (nine against the Phillies and Guardians, who are no slouches). It’s fair to say the Yankee bats aren’t doing themselves any favors, but neither has the schedule. The Yanks’ slate does relent a bit, as the A’s come into town this week, and they head to Cincinnati next week. They will hopefully take advantage of these opportunities to fatten up their record a bit. Next Up: Going for the series with Gerrit Cole (5-0, 1.35) on the mound is a good place to be. The Rays have not named their starting pitcher for today’s 1:35 pm contest.

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