NEW YORK -- The Rays could get nothing going against Yankees right-hander Luis Severino on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium in a 4-1 loss.The Rays reached second base twice against Severino through eight innings. Their best chance to score was in the second. They had runners on first and second
NEW YORK -- The Rays could get nothing going against Yankees right-hander Luis Severino on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium in a 4-1 loss.
The Rays reached second base twice against Severino through eight innings. Their best chance to score was in the second. They had runners on first and second with one out, but Mallex Smith hit into a double play to end the threat. Severino allowed just three hits and struck out nine batters.
"[Severino] was just lights-out -- I mean, the fastball command, the slider," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He even threw some balls inside more than what we've seen. I don't think it was by intent, but it worked in his favor. ... We knew coming in, you could argue he is the best pitcher in the American League right now -- the way he is throwing the baseball, and it showed up today. It was challenging for any offense."
It was a bullpen day for the Rays. They started Ryne Stanek, who didn't allow a run in 1 1/3 innings. In came left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, and the Yankees took advantage. With runners on first and second, Gleyber Torres doubled off the glove of third baseman Matt Duffy, scoring Greg Bird.
An inning later, Aaron Judge scored on a single by Didi Gregorius to make it a 2-0 game. The Yankees teed off on Yarbrough in the fifth, when Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez hit back-to-back home runs.
"Yarbrough was out of whack. I'm not sure what it was," Cash said. "The first at-bat was pretty telling -- with Bird and the four-pitch walk. It's just not him. … He has got to find ways to get in the zone more consistently."
Said Yarbrough, "It's really frustrating right now. I have to talk to [pitching coach Kyle Snyder] and look at some video and see how I was throwing a couple of starts ago and get me back on track."
Severino was out of the game when the Rays scored their only run. It was in the ninth inning, when Duffy hit a home run off left-hander Chasen Shreve. It snapped a 20-innings scoreless streak for the Rays' offense.
"The positives are, we have some young players that are getting opportunities to play and face this type of pitching," Cash said. "We are in a pretty tough stretch, playing the Yankees and then going to the next place [Houston] and playing those guys. We are going to find ways to pull positives, but ultimately the most positive thing is finding a way to win a game."
Duffy has a solution to the problem, but it's easier said than done.
"We just have to find a way to put together better at-bats and put some more runs on the board," he said.
The Rays are 0-5 against the Yankees this season and have been outscored 31-10.
It's another bullpen day for the Rays on Sunday (2:05 p.m. ET). Right-hander Wilmer Font will take the mound for his third start of the season and seventh appearance since joining Tampa Bay in late May. Font has allowed three runs in 11 2/3 innings for the Rays. He will be opposed by veteran left-hander Carsten Sabathia, who is coming off back-to-back wins.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-16. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.