The Yankees managed to score four runs in the top of the ninth, but they couldn't get the fifth to tie it in their 8-7 loss to the Rays on Wednesday night. >> Box score
1) The Yankees sent nine batters to the plate in what was a suspenseful final frame. With the bases loaded, Aaron Judge roped an RBI single to start the scoring. Then it was Luke Voit who barely missed a grand slam to tie the game up at 8 with the longest single ever to deep center field that scored two runs. Giancarlo Stanton would hit a chopper to third to score Judge, but no outs came out it. However, Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar couldn't get Voit home for the tie.
2) Masahiro Tanaka had a three-run lead to work with when he entered the game, but he gave it right back with a three-run inning himself. He would settle down a little bit, but Tommy Pham would crush a solo homer in the third to take a 4-3 lead. Tanaka's line read four runs, three earned while striking out four and walking one over four innings of work.
3) David Robertson imploded in his one-third inning appearance. He allowed four runs, three earned in the eighth on three hits and one walk. The rest of the bullpen kept things quiet, though. Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect seventh inning, while Jonathan Holder and Chad Green didn't allow a run either. Justus Sheffield would finish off the eighth for Robertson.
4) Voit had yet another great game, going 3-for-5 with his two RBI in the ninth. Andrew McCutchen was also solid in the leadoff spot with a 2-for-4, two-run night.
Highlights from Tuesday's game
Tanaka sure picked an inopportune time to backpedal from what was an otherwise great second half to the season.
On a day when Yankees general manager Brian Cashman claimed bullpenning the Wild Card Game was on the table, Tanaka gave the club a good reason to consider it even more. The Yankees have three legitimate starting pitching options to start the Wild Card Game, however, with questions surrounding each (including whether it is better to hold them until the division series), trotting out a string of relievers is a legitimate option.
At issue with a bullpen game is that relievers the Yankees would be relying on have had their own ups and downs of late. It might be worthwhile for the Yankees stick with tradition, understanding that the rope for whoever takes the mound in the first inning is extremely small, just like the one that was cut from Luis Severino in last season's Wild Card contest.
Moreover, if the Yankees are going to win the game, they'll need those relievers and might be best to have them pitching in circumstances they are all familiar with
CC Sabathia (8-7, 3.77 ERA) takes the hill as the Yankees finish their four-game series against the Rays on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field.