There's not much to say about this one. CC Sabathia was decent again but not quite ace-like, giving up three runs over 6 1/3 innings. The Yankee bats went cold for the fourth time in the past week, and Tampa's pitching gets a ton of credit in holding the Yankee offense to seven runs over three games. Hard to win ballgames when you only bang out five hits and only two of those hits are back-to-back.
Lance Berkman picked up his first hit as a Yankee, and Austin Kearns went 0-2 in his Yankee debut. Kerry Wood tossed a scoreless inning and picked up three strikeouts, and even Chad Gaudin -- rather bizarrely called on in the bottom of the 8th with the bases loaded and two outs -- got his job done, striking out the only batter he faced.
While it's frustrating to lose a series to the Rays, given that they've been nipping at the Yankees heels for the last month and a half, it's important to remember that it's also not the end of the world. The division isn't decided on August 1, and as much as we'd like the Yankees to take the AL East, ultimately no one can complain as long as they make the playoffs, which they remain in excellent position to do (CoolStandings has their % chance of making the playoffs at 89.2%; the highest mark in all of baseball). In trying to put a happy face on the loss, I find it's also helpful to keep in mind that:
- This was the first series the Yankees have lost in a month, when they dropped two of three at home to Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez.
- This was the first time the Yankees have been shut out since that same Seattle series on June 30 (King Felix, natch).
- The Yankees' worst losing streak of the season is three. This tells us that the 2010 Yankees have proven to be quite resilient and not prone to long stretches of overall ineffectiveness. Of course, that statement doesn't necessarily hold true for the offense, which does like to go into hibernation a bit more frequently than it should.
Photo c/o The AP