Inconsistent Snell; Yankees Rookies Dominate Again

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

Why this Yankees team wins with consistency and continues to be the best team in baseball is obvious when analyzing their 4-3 over the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. It’s their consistent ability to grind out at bats and that became a reason why Rays’ starter Blake Snell could not be consistent on the mound.

And of course the Yankees continued to get production from rookie Gleyber Torres. He hit the go-ahead three-run homer in  four-run fifth inning off Snell, his 13th. All of that and the first career win for rookie Domingo German kept this Yankees bandwagon going in the Bronx.

Snell, a left hander went to the mound 8-3, was 3-0 in his last four starts with a 0.38 ERA. He had allowed two runs or fewer in 12 starts, so the Yankees were aware there would be difficulty scoring runs.

But they had German, who has become their fifth starter with season ending surgery to Jordan Montgomery and also with right-hander Masahiro Tanaka on the disabled list with strained hamstrings.

“It feels great,” German said through his interpreter. “It has been a long battle for me to be able to win my first game in the big leagues. It means a lot. Hopefully I can relax a little more after getting the first one and keep battling.”

The Right-hander from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, struck out a career high 10. He recorded 26 swinging strikes, the sixth pitcher in baseball to do that this season. His 6.0 innings included a rough first inning that included a first pitch and leadoff home run to Matt Duffy.

Other than that, German moved along and the Yankees bullpen shut the door. The trio of Chad Green Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman tossed three scoreless innings. Chapman recorded his 19th save and struck out two of three Rays’ that came to the plate.

“Fastball command was there,” said Manager Aaron Boone about German. “ Really strong outing.” Boone was all compliments about his lineup that stayed tough and continued to let Snell throw pitches which enabled the Yankees to create traffic on the bases.

And one thing is well known about the Yankees lineup, there has to be consistent strikes thrown and not getting behind in counts. Snell had the Yankees on the ropes at one point, but throwing too many pitches after the first few innings and his consistency was long gone.

Again, those Yankees rookies have grown up quickly. Torres got his pitch and the decisive long ball came from a possible AL Rookie of The Year.

It did not come easy for Torres at first when facing Snell. He struck out and hit a fly ball in the first two at bats. Then there was the adjustment and the rookie thought fastball and the home run went to left on a 3-2 pitch.

“The third at bat, I felt relaxed,” he said. “I focused in on just having  good at bat. If not me, I’ve got guys behind me. I just tried to put the ball in play and tried to help.”

He did help and the Yankees got the win, their 11th in their last 14 games. But as Snell said about the pitches he threw, “Everything was inconsistent.”

A PLAY THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE:  Gary Sanchez who sat down the pst two games cut down Carlos Gomez trying to steal third with one out in the seventh after getting on base with a double off Chad Green.  That became an eventual tying run before the Yankees pen took over.

Said Gomez, who thought it was a slider that gave him a chance, “It’s going to happen. I think I can do it again.” That means, Gomez plans to read pitches better if a similar situation is presented on the bases. But this time it was costly and it led to another Yankees win.

ROMO FROM PEN TO STARTER:  More to come on this but Sergio Romo, a veteran reliever has been pressed into a unique situation that has the baseball world talking. With the Rays battling a short rotation, manager Kevin Cash has been utilizing Romo as a short starter and doing that with a few other relief pitches.

Romo gets the start, throws one or two innings, and then the ball goes to the rest of the pen or a backend starter that is not announced in the rotation, It definitely has changed the complexion and concept of the game and different managers have been reviewing and discussing ways they may utilize this approach at some point.

The Rays have yet to announce starters Saturday and Sunday, the final two games of this series. Romo sits and awaits the call. Is it either the bullpen or does he get the start?

“I don’t know,” he said Thursday evening. “All I want to do is pitch.” He will get the opportunity, and the preparation is the same but the perplexing question for is, when and where will Sergio Romo appear on the mound?

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