The Yankees lost to the Rays on Wednesday due to a series of inexplicable Aaron Boone moves, capped by Mike Tauchman sitting for Miguel Andujar.
Thus far in the 2020 edition of the Yankees-Rays rivalry, Tampa Bay doesn’t need any gifts. They’ve been more than competent enough to take the vast majority of these games for themselves, racing out to a 5-1 season series lead after defeating the Gerrit Cole-led Yanks on Wednesday night in the Bronx.
That didn’t stop Aaron Boone for asking them exactly what kind of game they’d like for their birthday, wrapping it up, and presenting it with fervor as a beautiful gift.
Boone’s first brutal blunder came when Zack Britton was left hung out to dry in the eighth, leading to the Rays’ two-run, game-winning rally. After a phenomenal Gio Urshela play to keep the game deadlocked and put runners at first and second with one out, Rays manager Kevin Cash summoned Britton’s natural enemy from last weekend, Mike Brosseau. Boone countered by telling strikeout artist Adam Ottavino to sit on down, and letting Britton surrender two consecutive RBI singles, after the defense had worked quite hard to save this contest.
Somehow, the usually-competent Yankees skipper only got worse. With the first two men on in the ninth, he allowed Brett Gardner to swing away — the wily veteran missed two hittable home run pitches, and lofted a fly out to center. Cash then summoned lefty Jalen Beeks, once the struggling Chaz Roe hit his three-batter minimum. Mike Tauchman was due up. The guy mashes lefties. Reverse splits are kind of his thing. It’s the kind of situation you’d love to see an opposing manager stumble into.
Boone pulled Tauchman for Miguel Andujar, who stared at three strikes — two down the middle, and one check-swung at weakly. Our jaws went slack.
Yes, Tauchman punishes lefties. Boone had to know, even if that wasn’t the case, that he’d put up more of a competitive at-bat than the anxious Andujar. Somehow, the braintrust decided they’d rather try to jumpstart Miggy than win the game. It didn’t work.
And, oh, it gets worse. Because not only does Tauchman have nice reverse splits, but … so did Jalen Beeks, the opposing pitcher!
And, you’re not going to believe this — postgame, it got worse! Britton hurt himself. He’s being checked out. There’s concern.
Why. Was he allowed. To complete his worst inning of the season?
Cash schooled Boone in this one, capped everything off by pulling his struggling reliever in the ninth at the exact right time, and left us with a devastating loss and a new injury concern.
Wednesday looked the worst-case scenario in the mirror and one-upped it at every turn.