The Yankees decided to employ an opener against the Rays on Friday night, but unlike when they used an opener and were defeated in Game 2 of the ALDS last October, this loss mostly gets pinned on their feeble offense and some shoddy defense in an all-around disastrous night in The Bronx.
Yes, reliever Nick Nelson coughed up two runs in the first inning, but the Yankees’ surprisingly low-octane lineup was throttled again in a deservedly boo-filled 8-2 loss to Tampa Bay at the Stadium for a rough start to a five-game home stand.
The ugly game was delayed for several minutes in the home eighth inning, when several fans among the angry announced crowd of 10,202 threw baseballs and other objects onto the field.
Reliever Michael King exacted the 31st hit-by-pitch of a Tampa Bay player by a Yankees hurler since 2018, but the Rays only retaliated with their 14th win in 19 games (playoffs included) against the Bombers since the start of 2020. That includes Game 2 of last year’s ALDS, in which the Yankees pitched rookie Deivi Garcia as a one-inning opener before turning to veteran J.A Happ in what became a 7-5 defeat.