The Yankees’ ongoing beef with the Rays did not retire with CC Sabathia’s final walk from a big league mound.
With tempers hot about a handful of high and tight pitches on Saturday, prompting the ejections of manager Aaron Boone and hitting coach Marcus Thames, the Bombers’ bats cooled in a 5-3 loss to the Rays in the nightcap of a seven-inning doubleheader at Tropicana Field.
Aaron Boone has been ejected pic.twitter.com/E5mNhf5Y59
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 8, 2020
“It was more just about the history,” Aaron Judge said, nodding to a tense September 2018 contest between the clubs. “You don’t usually forget stuff like that. Then to continue to throw up and in, that’s tough. We’ve got a lot of big hitters up there and we know they’re going to throw in, but to miss that far up and in, you’re going to get a little barking from the dugout.”
Thanks in part to Austin Meadows’ go-ahead, two-run single, the Yankees settled for a split of the twin bill. In the first game, Gerrit Cole struck out 10 over 4 2/3 innings while Judge, Mike Ford and Giancarlo Stanton all homered, powering the Yankees’ 8-4 victory. Stanton exited the second game with a tight left hamstring that could send him to the injured list.
In the September 2018 contest that Judge referenced, Sabathia was irked when the Rays’ Andrew Kittredge threw a fastball over Austin Romine’s head after an earlier hit batsman. Sabathia responded by plunking Jesús Sucre, earning an ejection from home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza and offering some choice words to the Tampa Bay bench that soon appeared on T-shirts.
Coincidentally, Carapazza was behind the plate on Saturday as the Yankees chirped about brushback pitches to DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela. Carapazza ejected Thames after the top of the fifth inning, then tossed Boone when the manager protested.
“He misinterpreted what Marcus said,” said Boone, who has been ejected 10 times since taking over as the Yanks’ manager in 2018. “We’ll just leave it at that. He should not have been thrown out of the game.”
Diego Castillo dusted Urshela and LeMahieu in the third inning on Saturday, and Kittredge made LeMahieu stumble in the fifth. Judge said that the Rays have not been the only team to attempt moving the Yankees’ feet this season.
“We have a lot of big power hitters that can drive the baseball, so a lot of teams are really trying to back us off the plate,” Judge said. “We know that it’s something they’ve done for years now. They want to try to come in and back us off. It’s something we’ve got to deal with, but I know our pitchers are there to protect us.”