Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays is in the books and the advantage has shifted heavily towards the Rays. Behind Tampa Bay’s typically excellent pitching and aggressive approach at the plate, they were able to easily handle the Yankees and win 8-4 to take a 2-1 series lead. The Rays are now one win away from advancing to the American League Conference Series for the first time since 2008.
Both teams battled for the first three innings of play, but with the score tied at 1-1, Kevin Kiermaier launched a three-run homerun off of Masahiro Tanaka to give the Rays a 4-1 lead.
From there, the game was on cruise control for Tampa Bay who continued to add runs as the evening progressed. Randy Arazorena, who Rays’ ace Tyler Glasnow called “The best baseball player in the world right now,” hit a solo shot off Tanaka to chase the Yankee starter from the game after four innings of work. Each team scored three more runs before the game ended with a final score of 8-4 in favor of Tampa Bay.
Randy Arozorena can do no wrong right now. The rookie sensation added three more hits and an RBI in Game 3 to improve his OPS to a whopping 2.109 in the series. Perhaps more importantly for Tampa is that the bottom of their order finally started chipping in offensively. The bottom
four batters in the Rays’ order accounted for eight of the team’s 13 hits and six of the team’s eight runs to go along with only two strikeouts. Veteran Charlie Morton also performed very well on the mound, tossing five innings with six strikeouts and only one earned run against for his fifth straight postseason win. The Rays are a well-oiled machine right now.
It’s desperation time for the Yankees. They’ve been out-hit and out-pitched in back-to-back games and outscored by a combined 15-9 in the two losses. Most concerning for New York is that their pitching depth is dangerously thin. They expected Masahiro Tanaka to go at least six innings and keep the game close, but he surrendered eight hits and five runs in only four innings. The bullpen allowed three more runs in the remaining five innings and never really gave the offense much of a chance. On the offensive side, Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres are all hitting .200 or below. Giancarlo Stanton (who added another two-run shot and now leads the playoffs by a massive margin with six home runs and 13 RBI’s) has done his best to pick up the slack, but will need significantly more help. It’s do or die for the Bombers now.
Game 4 will be played on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7:10 p.m. Eastern. Jordan Montgomery will pitch for the Yankees against opener Ryan Thompson of the Rays.