Yanks Drop Fifth Straight As Hitting Woes Continue

Howard Goldin

Unless the fortunes of the New York Yankees improve rapidly, the team’s brass will be under increasing pressure to make serious roster changes through the trade route prior to July 31.

The 6-3 loss to the Rays in Thursday’s matinee, the final game of the most recent homestand, was the team’s season-high fifth straight. The last such debacle occurred in June of 2013. It was also the fifth consecutive home defeat of the Yankees, a Bronx losing streak that last took place in May 2011. The 2014 record of the Yanks dropped to 41-42, their first time below .500 since April 11, when their record was 5-6.

On Thursday, the Rays came back from single run deficits three times to knot the score before scoring two in the top of the fifth to assume their first lead of the contest, which they maintained.

The winning blow, a two-run homer, was delivered by Sean Rodriguez in his first game at short since July 11,, 2013. The awesome blast went more than 440 feet, Rays manager Joe Maddon commented, “How about Sean’s homer? That could have been out of the old stadium.” Rodriguez explained the home run was not his goal, “I was just trying to hit it hard. I just wanted to find a way to contribute to help us win.”

Although Rodriguez is only batting .215, 15 of his 26 hits have been for extra bases, a percentage second in the majors. He remarked with a degree of surprise, “It [power hitting] has become a bigger part of my game than people thought despite my record in the minors.”

Pitching was again part of the Tampa victory. Rookie Jake Odorizzi, the Tampa starter went 5.2 innings, yielding three runs, eight hits and one walk. Two of the hits were solo home runs, Brett Gardner in the first and Brian McCann in the third.

The winning pitcher fanned only four Yankees, but said, “I have the ability to throw strikes.” This was no understatement as Odorizzi’s mark for strikeouts per nine innings (10.56) is currently the fourth highest in major league history for a rookie pitcher.

The Tampa bullpen kept the Yankees scoreless with only two hits in 3.1 innings. After the game ther Tampa skipper stated, “They [relievers] all looked really good. [They’re] getting their confidence.”

The Rays, at the half-way point of the 2014 season, are moving in the opposite direction of the Yankees. Their win was a season-high fifth straight. The surging Rays have now won seven of their last eight games.

 Manager Maddon explained, “We’re getting a different bus driver on a daily basis, that’s what we’re built for.” To continue winning in the future, he said, “We’ve been waiting for things to happen. We have to make things happen.”

The winning pitcher explained their recent success thusly, “Our pitching, our hitting, and our defense are all coming together at the same time.”