The Tampa Yankees
If the parent club Yankees want their teams to win, they had to be pleased with the Tampa branch of the family. They won their second consecutive Florida State League, North Division, title. Tampa was the best team in the first half—in the FSL they have an award for this accomplishment—and finished with the best record (79-49).
But, like the RiverDogs as mentioned earlier, they, too, lost in the first round. And once again the culprit was primarily the relief pitching.
That wasn’t true in the first game, where Brian Keller gave up five earned runs in less than one inning. Players want to get noticed, but no one wants that kind of line. But he was bailed out as the baby Yankees scored eight runs, including three in the ninth, and won 8-6.
What they didn’t know at the time was that it would take that much offense to win every game. And they just couldn’t do it, no shame to the hitters.
A Small Explosion
In game two, Erik Swanson gave up but one lone run in his six innings, but the Tampa Yankees lost 5-3. And eerily similar to the final game in the Sally, this series clincher featured a bullpen that was bad but an offense that was worse.
Recently returned Albert Abreu acquitted himself well, giving up only two earned through five and two-thirds, but the team still lost 4-1. Still, there was a lot of promise shown by several pitchers.
While the offense exploded in game one, and there were several good contributors, the two men who most consistently produced were DH Dalton Blaser and CF Estevan Florial. For the series, Blaser had four hits, two walks, scored twice, and collected two RBI’s.
And both of those ribbies came off of the two home runs Dalton hit during the series. But in the last game, he managed just one walk. As the team scored only one run, he was not the only Yankees player to struggle.