In a thrilling, hotly contested game Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the New York Yankees 5-3. It took an aptly timed triple play and a clutch home run from Matt Joyce, but the Rays managed to hang on to beat the Yankees’ A-team.
While it’s easy to dismiss the Rays’ wins since the Yankees have nothing to play for — they’ve already clinched the division and home-field advantage — last night’s game goes to show that they haven’t taken their foot off the gas. The Yanks ran the majority of their regulars out there last night, playing Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, and Brett Gardner. They also used all their best bullpen arms, getting them in some final work before the postseason.
And while it’d seem like common sense for the Yankees to lie down in today’s game, starting few of their regulars and gearing up for the postseason, that may not happen. Manager Joe Girardi has already said he plans to start most of his regulars in the lineup, and while the Yankees likely won’t leave all of them in their all game, they’re not about to simply concede this game to the Rays. With their impressive rotation – Shields, Price, Hellickson, and possibly Matt Moore — Tampa Bay is a dangerous playoff team, and in many ways, the Yanks are probably hoping the Red Sox make the postseason instead of them.
The Yankees still have not yet announced a starter for today’s game, but the odds are it will be one of their top minor league arms, like Dellin Betances.