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By Gary W. Marchese Jr.
St. Petersburg, FL (Sept 27) – The New York Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night by the score of 5-2. Hector Noesi started for the Yankees and only was able to pitch a couple of innings. Noesi has been a reliever with the Yankees all season; the Yankees used a bunch of pitchers after him that did ok. The offense was Robinson Cano and that was it. James Shields pitched for the Rays and continued to do what he has been doing, pitching well and getting the victory. The Yankees have nothing to play for but they will give a representative effort. The Yankees are not going to kill themselves out there though as they have everything wrapped up.
Noesi pitched two innings giving up five hits, three runs, and two walks, struck out one leaving him with the loss, and is now 2-2 on the season. Raul Valdes pitched two innings giving up two hits and one run with a couple of strikeouts, Phil Hughes pitched 1 2/3 innings giving up one hit and two walks. He did strike out one batter and George Kontos pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up a run and two walks. He struck out one batter. Hughes was pitching out of the bullpen as that will be his role in the postseason, he will pitch again out of the pen on Wednesday to see if he will be ready for Friday and Saturday. Luis Ayala pitched an inning giving up a hit and a walk with a strikeout and Andrew Brackman pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up a walk. Noesi threw one wild pitch in the game.
Derek Jeter had a walk and was robbed of an extra base hit. Cano had two hits and two RBI, Alex Rodriguez had a hit and Eric Chavez had a walk. Russell Martin had a hit, Eduardo Nunez had a hit and a walk and Brett Gardner had a hit. Nunez had a double Cano had a homerun. The Yankees were 1-6 with runners in scoring position and they left five men on base. Shields picked Nunez off first base.
In the first Cano hit a solo homerun to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. In the third inning, Cano had an RBI single to make it 2-0 Yankees. In the bottom of the third B.J. Upton hit a two-run double to tie the game at two. Johnny Damon had an RBI single to give the Rays the 3-2 lead. In the fourth, Kelly Shoppach hit a solo homerun to give the Rays a 4-2 lead. In the seventh, Damon hit a sacrifice fly to make it a 5-2 lead. That would be the final runs in the game.
The Yankees keep saying they are playing to win these games but they aren’t going to go all out to win. The Yankees have wrapped everything up and have nothing to play for other than to respect the game. The Yankees aren’t going to go out there and roll over but they aren’t going to push any of their pitchers, they are using their bullpen to pitch games and they aren’t going to play their regulars every game all game.
The Yankees will send Bartolo Colon to the mound on Tuesday night against Hellickson for the Rays. The Yankees will probably use a bunch of players out of the bullpen in the final regular season game on Wednesday. It could be a wild couple of days as the Rays and Red Sox are tied for the wild card. If the wild card is tied, there will be a one game playoff on Thursday at Tropicana Field between the two teams. The Yankees still don’t know who their opponent will be in the first round even though they will play Game One on Friday night in the Bronx, they will play Game Two Saturday night in the Bronx.