Rays Bullpen Costs Them Again
The Red Sox opened the door for the Rays Wednesday night, losing to the Orioles 6-4. Tampa Bay then slammed it on their hands by falling to the Yankees 4-2. The bullpen let another game get away and a disappointed squad will look to salvage something Thursday, trying to avoid their first four game sweep of the season. It was the second 4-2 loss of the day for the Rays and also the second time they lost the game in the eighth inning.
Jeremy Hellickson had control issues again Wednesday, walking four in seven innings, but battled his way through it. He allowed two runs and kept the Yankees from breaking it open several times in the early innings. He left the game after the Rays had fought back to tie the game at two headed to the eighth. Tampa loaded the bases against C.C. Sabathia and manager Joe Girardi lifted him in favor of reliever David Robertson. Robertson got Ben Zobrist to ground weakly to short and a double play ended the threat.
That sinking feeling developed and you just knew that missed opportunity would cost the Rays tonight. The Yankees wasted no time, loading the bases themselves in the bottom of the inning. Unlike the Rays, who left runners on base all night going 1-10 with runners in scoring position, the Yankees got a clutch hit. It came off the bat of Jorge Posada, pinch hitting against Brandon Gomes with two outs. His single to right plated two runs and gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead. Former Ray Rafael Soriano, an integral part of last year’s bullpen that performed so well for Tampa, came in and closed them out in the ninth.
The win clinched the AL East for the Yankees and dealt a crushing blow to the playoff hopes of the Rays. It also allowed the Angels to tie the Rays at three games back. With only seven games left, the Rays have to run the table and get some help. They’ll be sending Jeff Niemann to the mound to take the first step in righting the ship Thursday. If their backs weren’t against the wall before, they most certainly are now.
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