Yankees: There’s actually a silver lining about blown Game 2 vs Rays

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 06: J.A. Happ #33 of the New York Yankees is taken out of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning in Game Two of the American League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 06, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 06: J.A. Happ #33 of the New York Yankees is taken out of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning in Game Two of the American League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 06, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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The Yankees punted Game 2 vs the Rays, but there’s a reason for hope.

Yup, we would’ve all loved a 2-0 series lead with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound for Game 3, but did you really think that was going to happen? The Tampa Bay Rays stomped the New York Yankees to the tune of an 8-2 record during the regular season. We know much of that was without Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, but that success still means something.

In short, manager Aaron Boone tried to get creative and throw the Rays off by using Deivi Garcia as an opener (everyone was unaware that was the case) before quickly pivoting to JA Happ against a lefty-heavy Tampa lineup. That didn’t work.

Happ surrendered four earned runs on five hits and three walks, managing to only get through 2.2 innings. Certifiably terrible. The two home runs he gave up were arguably against the two worst hitters in the Rays lineup: Mike Zunino and Manuel Margot.

But guess what? This was worth the try. Some would argue starting Tanaka would’ve been the better decision, but there’s no way to prove that right now, especially since the Yankees managed just four hits on the evening. Five runs could’ve gotten it done, but we’ll never know.

The good news? Well, there’s quite a solid amount. For starters, we will NOT see Happ again for this entire series, and everyone has to be thrilled about that. He had his chance to redeem himself after giving up the walk-off homer to Carlos Correa in the ALCS last year and he didn’t. It’s hard to imagine we’ll see him pitching in a meaningful spot for the Yankees again.

What else? Well, the Rays’ bullpen is very much taxed at this point, and it’s hard to imagine that they’ll have all hands on deck tomorrow or if they’ll be able to remain at their best if this ALDS goes the distance. Tampa manager Kevin Cash has used seven relievers thus far and five of them have thrown 21, 42, 24, 22 and 25 pitches.

On the other hand, with the exception of Chad Green, who threw 20 pitches, only Jonathan Loaisiga threw more because he was tasked with 1.2 innings of work. On top of that, Adam Ottavino saw some solid action and came in to protect a one-run lead in the fourth. And he only threw 16 pitches. We’ll take any outing that works to get Otto back to his normal self.

Additionally, Zack Britton’s 14 pitches has him in a good place for the rest of the series and Aroldis Chapman is fully rested. We also learned that Jonathan Holder could be used a bit more after his clean 11-pitch inning.

Oh yeah, and CB Bucknor won’t be behind the plate on Wednesday!

Get that guy so far out of our faces, please. He must’ve made 17 bad calls that went against the Yankees, and like two for the Rays.

Do with this information what you will. But this series was NEVER going to be a 2-0 Yankees lead. You’re fooling yourself if you ever thought that.

We’ll see you on Wednesday with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound against Charlie Morton.