The MLB Trade Deadline came and went and the Yankees mostly looked the same Tuesday, results included.
Carlos Rodón flopped, the offense mostly fizzled again and the Rays throttled the Yanks, 5-2, in front of a crowd of 38,047 at a restless Yankee Stadium. Yandy Díaz and Randy Arozarena both homered as Tampa Bay bolted to an early lead and never looked back.
The Yankees, who started play in last place in the AL East and 3.5 games out of an AL Wild Card spot, fell to 55-52 on the season. They are now 1-4 halfway through what could be a murderous stretch of 10 games against the Orioles, Rays and Astros.
The Rays, who have homered six times in the first two games of the series, are 66-44.
Here are the main takeaways:
– Rodón, who had his best outing of the season last time against the Mets, regressed, allowing four runs and four hits in just four innings of work. Two of those hits left the ballpark – one homer by Díaz, his 15th, and one by Arozarena, his 18th. Rodón also had trouble with control, walking four, while striking out five. He threw 97 pitches in just four frames, 63 of them for strikes.
Rodón (1-4), an expensive offseason addition on a six-year, $162-million free agent contract, now has a 6.29 ERA this season in five mostly-unimpressive starts.
– The Yankee offense was mostly helpless against Rays starter Zach Eflin (12-6), who threw six shutout innings and was never tested. He allowed three hits, never more than one in the same inning, and struck out five without walking a batter.
The sixth inning might’ve gotten trickier for the right-hander if Brandon Lowe hadn’t robbed Anthony Volpe of a potential hit leading off. Lowe, the second baseman, sprawled to his right to snare Volpe’s grounder toward the middle and then threw him out. One out later, Jake Bauers smacked a two-out double to left to bring up Aaron Judge and inject some life into the crowd, but Judge flew out to center just shy of the warning track. Twenty one of Bauer’s last 29 hits have gone for extra bases.
– In the ninth, the Yankees showed some life against lefty Colin Poche. Harrison Bader pinch-hit for Bauers with one out and blooped a double to center, which probably should’ve been caught. Judge then hit a moonshot to left, but that was caught in front of the track, too. Gleyber Torres followed that up with a double into the left-field corner to knock in a run and cut the Yanks’ deficit to 5-1.
After Anthony Rizzo singled, DJ LeMahieu hit an infield single, allowing another run to score. That brought the tying run to the plate and forced the Rays to bring in Pete Fairbanks, one of their best relievers, to face pinch-hitter Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton struck out to end the game and fans booed.
– The Yankee bullpen, which came into the game with the best relief ERA in baseball (3.10), saw a streak of 13.2 consecutive scoreless innings end. Right-hander Ian Hamilton gave up a run in the fifth inning after he came on in relief of Rodón. It was only the fourth time in the last 24 appearances that Hamilton had allowed an earned run.
– Judge, who entered the game 3-for-7 with six walks and a home run since returning to the Yankee lineup after missing nearly two months, finished the night 1-for-4 with his only hit being a first inning single.
The Yanks and Rays close out their three-game set on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. in the Bronx.