Simply stated, the Yankees’ bullpen failed to hold a solid pitching performance by Hiroki Kuroda Friday night at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Bay Rays. Kuroda pitched 5 2/3 innings, allowing 7 hits, 3 earned runs, while striking out and walking 2 apiece. David Phelps, Matt Thornton, Adam Warren and Cesar Cabral combined to hand the Rays a come-from-behind victory, along with rubbing salt in the wound, winning 11-5.
The Bombers jumped out to an early and commanding lead, as Scott Sizemore drove in three in the second inning on a double. Sizemore later scored on a RBI groundout by Brett Gardner, pushing the Yankees’ lead to 4-0. The Rays began chipping away at the lead, as James Loney drove in a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth with a double, scoring both Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria. The Rays cut the lead to one when reigning AL Rookie of the Year Wil Myers drove in a run to make it 4-3, Yankees at the end of six.
The final run for the Yankees came from an RBI single by Alfonso Soriano. From that point, the wheels came completely off for the Bombers’ bullpen. Desmond Jennings drove in a run, and Loney struck again, driving in another pair, to give the Rays the lead for good. The snowball effect continued the following inning, as utilityman Sean Rodriguez hit his third home run of the season, a 2-run shot to put the lead out of reach. Brandon Guyer drove home Ben Zobrist, making it 11-5 Rays. Warren and Cabral each allowed 3 earned runs, and for Cabral who didn’t retire a single hitter, this could be considered his worst appearance in his short big league career. Shawn Kelley came on in a mop-up role for the Yankees, and retired the final batter of the inning, but it was too little too late on this night.
The only real highlights for the Yankees tonight was the pitching of Kuroda, and the hitting of Jacoby Ellsbury, who went 2-for-5 with a stolen base and the re-emergence of Scott Sizemore. Yankees.com referred to the bullpen as “taking their lumps”, I’ll go ahead and take it a step further, and say they took a dump. That was just some poor bullpen pitching, and as a result, Cabal was designated for assignment following the game, and it appears that Matt Daley is going to replace Cabral in the Yankees’ bullpen.