Opportunities squander? Check. Sluggish offense? Check. Ineffective pitching? Check. Tonight the New York Yankees continued their 2020 season with the opening bout of a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees had not lost a game in six straight with their last loss coming to these same Rays. So we continue to recap the Yankees’ 2020 season with three takeaways from tonight’s loss to Tampa.
Takeaway #1: Tanaka Didn’t Have It Tonight
The first and most glaring issue from tonight’s game was that Masahiro Tanaka just didn’t have his “good stuff.” Tanaka no longer possesses an overpowering fastball, so he relies more heavily on location. And when a fastball that can’t overpower is left in the middle of the plate, it travels a long way away from homeplate. Masahiro would pitch just four innings of work and allow six runs (five earned) on eight hits and allowed two homeruns. Thankfully the Yankees bullpen came in to lock down the rest of the game and not allow any more runs to score.
Takeaway #2: Failure to Capitalize
The Yankees have been uncommonly baffled by the Tampa Bay Rays in recent seasons. Usually, the bewilderment of the Yankees only takes place in Tropicana Field in Tampa, which is an absolute joke of a baseball stadium. However, tonight the Yankee bats were stymied when they went 0-6 with runners in scoring position. And the Bronx Bombers would also leave six men on base. The inability to capitalize on critical moments like the bases loaded and only one out was the nail in the Yankees pinstriped coffin tonight. For the Yankees to be successful against their new biggest rival in Tampa, they must do a better job with men on base and ready to score.
Takeaway #3: Lack of Presence in the Lineup?
The New York Yankees have a talented team and some very underrated players. Over the past few seasons, Yankee GM, Brian Cashman, has been able to make acquisitions and signings that have flown under the radar until the player blossomed. Players like Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit (whom we highlighted yesterday), Mike Tauchman, and Mike Ford are just a few examples. However, their superstars Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and DJ LeMahieu, provide the Yankees with a next-level threat for teams to worry about during games.
Yes, the Yankees have the kind of team that can bully other squads because of their power (even without Judge, Stanton, and LeMahieu.) But losing their presence makes pitchers a little more comfortable. The Yankee players will need to step you and show the rest of the MLB that they are capable of blasting teams even without the triumphant threesome.