The Friday opener of the series brought Severino to the mound, trying to bounce back after a rough start, and Rob Thomson to fill in for manager Joe Girardi, but unfortunately, the Yanks were not able to start the series on a high note, dropping a back and forth contest 5-4to the Rays.
Severino looked shakey, at best, to start the game. Given a 1-0 lead in the top half of the first, Luis promptly surrendered a run in the bottom frame and burned thirty pitches in the process. As with his previous start, where he surrendered 3 runs in 2.1 innings, Severino struggled with his command throughout his five innings of work. His slider gave him the most trouble throughout the evening, frequently starting out of the strike zone and failing to entice the strikeout-prone Rays to chase his pitches out of the zone. After a rough start to the game, though, Severino did find his way to pitch a gritty 5 IP, surrendering only the one run and keeping the Yanks in the game.
The Yankees entered the seventh with a 2-1 lead, but unfortunately, that would be their last lead of the game. Warren relieved Holder and promptly gave up three consecutive singles. After a sac-fly, Thomson pulled Warren for Shreve, who gave up a double to Weeks to plate two more runs. Blown save for Warren. Yanks down 4-2 heading into the eighth frame.
Side note: the Weeks "double" was some generous scoring from the home team. It would have been a tricky play, but Torreyes tried to backhand a soft grounder to third on a short hop, and the ball skipped under his glove. The grounder probably caught him in between an aggressive attempt to catch the runner running from third base and the safe force play at first. As usual in baseball, if you try to make two plays, you normally come away with neither. Surprising result though for a typically solid fielder in Torreyes.
Holliday made it an interesting game in the eighth with a two-run game-tying home run, but Clippard could not keep the Yankees in the game, surrendering two walks and Longoria's go-ahead RBI single. Game over. Yanks lose 5-4, and Longoria once again is the dagger.
Severino's final line of 5 IP 7 K's 1 ER represented a nice effort for the young righty. He clearly did not have his best stuff last night, but battled to keep his team in the game. This is as good of an "off-night" as a young pitcher can have.
Tyler Clippard now has 7 BB in 17.2 innings pitched. For perspective, Pineda has 8 BB in 47.1 IP. You can't walk two batters in an inning and expect to escape without damage. This was a bad night for the Yanks' setup man.
Props to Joe Girardi for taking a night off to go to his daughter's graduation. I'm not surprised that he has his priorities in order, but it's still nice to see.
Next up: The Yanks look to even the series against Tampa with Tanaka against Andriese. First pitch 4:10 EST.