Rays lose to Yankees as tempers flare

by Gary Shelton on September 2, 2020

in general

Cash angry after loss to Yankees./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

What this series needs, right about now, is a little bit of Jonny Gomes charging in from right field.

That, and a mandatory eight coumt.

The season long battle between the rich kids from the Bronx and the poorer counterparts from Tampa Bay turned from baseball into something uglier, something with head-hunting aspects of the game to it in the Yankees 5-3 victory over the Rays Tuesday  night. It was only the second win in nine games by the Yankees again the Rays.

Still, the focus of the game wasn’t a horrible defensive play by the Rays, or the two home runs by D.J. LeMahieu.

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It was the ball that plunked Joey Wendle in the first inning, and it the 101-mile an hour fastball aimed at Mike Brosseau’s head on the last at-bat of the game, that stirred the Rays’ passions.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. “It was mishandled by the Yankees, certainly the pitcher (Aroldis Chapman) on the mound. It was mishandled by the umpires. They hit Joey Wendle intentionally in the first inning. It was clear as day.

“I get it. They don’t like being thrown up and in, but  enough is enough. We’re talking about a 100-mile-an-hour fastball over a young man’s head. It makes no sense. It’s poor judgement, poor coaching, poor teaching what they’re doing and allowing to do. The chirping from the dugout. Someone pull the numbers. Who’s hit who more? I can assure you that other than three years ago, there hasn’t been one pitch thrown with intent from any of our guys. Period. Someone's got to be accountable. 

“And the last thing I’ll say on it is that I’ve got a whole damn stable of guys who throw 98 miles an hour.”

The incident dampened a crisply played game when only one sixth-inning play got away from the Rays. That came when Gio Urshela hit a sinking line drive to center with two men on. The Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier dotve to make the catch, but he ball bounded past Kiermaier to the fence.

Willy Adames overthrew home on the cut-off, and Urshela — beaten to the plate by a good distance — slid into the plate to score.

Kiermaier and Adames had been in position to be among the Rays’ offensive heroes. Kiermaier hit a two-run homer in the fifth. Adames had three hits including a home run.

Still, it was the Yankees — perhaps fueled by the Rays’ play against them this season — that left everyone talking.

“The chirping of it,” Kiermaier said. “Phil Nevin, the third base coach, being that guy. We don’t like them, they don’t like us. Nevin’s always trying to be all macho trying to get attention. It is what it is.

“I think this year, we have their number and we’ve played very well against them. Maybe that frustrated them. I don’t know. We like to think that is the reason.”

Said Brousseau: If anyone wants to talk about the unwritten rules of baseball and sending a message, I  believe that was done in the first inning with Joey. Usually protocol is that you get the message and you move on. If there was intent behind Chapman’s delivery, i’m not sure.”

And Wendle “I don’t  think there was any question that the pitch at me was intentional, to be honest with you. Two pitches like that in a row. I laughed because I didn’t want to let that get under my skin. To me, it was a sign we were under their skin a little bit. I think they were upset we were throwing on the inner  half of the plate. That’s their prerogative. Our focus is on winning baseball games. If we feel like pitching on the inner half of the plate, we’re going to do that and were going to continue to do that. No one else seems to have an issue with it.”

The Rays play their final game of the season against the Yankees tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium. Charlie Morton will finally start again for the Rays against Jordan Montgomery.

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