Yankees Lose a Tough Series To The Rays

Steve O Speak

Yesterday the Yankees lost the third game of a three game set in Tampa, to drop the series to the Rays. While this game didn’t go into extra innings like the first two games, it still had its share of drama.

The Yankees jumped off to an early 1-0 lead in the first, only to lose it in the bottom of the 5th inning on one swing by DH Dan Johnson, whose 2-run home run gave the Rays the lead. The Yankees retook the lead in the 7th on a very controversial call. Lead-off batter Derek Jeter was apparently hit by a pitch, according to home plate umpire (and his acting). But the Rays and replay (as well as sound) argued (and showed) that the ball hit off the end of Jeter’s bat before it ever touched him. Rays manger Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and was eventually thrown out. According to reports Jeter later admitted that he knew the ball hit him, but did his job to get on base anyway possible. And honestly while it sucks for the Rays, it was a close play and Jeter’s acting worked. Next batter Curtis Granderson nailed a two run home run to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. By the same token though Joe Maddon arguing the call might have worked as well, because the Yankees lead was short lived. The Rays came out in the bottom of the 7th and after a two-out single by Matt Joyce, Johnson once again gave the Rays the lead with one swing.

The Rays held on to win 4-3, which not only preserved their season series lead over the Yankees (8-6), but regained them a half game lead in the A.L. East. While the lead is slim, the Rays are peaking at the right time. They still have a 4 game set up in New York next week, but seem much more ready to handle the Yankees. New York meanwhile has been reeling of late and needs to figure out what isn’t working as the postseason is quickly coming upon them.

Although whoever loses the division will end up the Wild Card team (barring any major late season collapse), there is a lot at stake here. Not only does the division winner have homefield advantage in the first round, but whoever comes out of the East should have (though the Twins could overtake) homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Even if it isn’t throughout the playoffs because of a late Minnesota push, the division winner would still have the opening series against the Rangers at home.

The Yankees can easily redeem themselves, and comeback and win not only the season series, but the division as well, but right now the Rays seem to be pulling away a bit. This series will go down to the wire, and is some of the best baseball you will see this season.

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