Rays journal: Solid not good enough in loss to Yankees

Jalen Beeks reacts as the Yankees' Austin Romine circles the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of the Rays' 4-1 loss.  [Associated Press]
Jalen Beeks reacts as the Yankees' Austin Romine circles the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of the Rays' 4-1 loss. [Associated Press]
Published Aug. 15, 2018|Updated Aug. 15, 2018

NEW YORK — The Rays got another solid outing from LHP Jalen Beeks on Tuesday, though the few mistakes he did make were costly. Add their inability to muster much of anything offensively against J.A. Happ and two relievers, and the result was yet another loss at Yankee Stadium, 4-1.

Working in relief of not-sharp opener Hunter Wood, Beeks started well, including a stretch of six straight strikeouts, one shy of the Rays record. But a five-pitch walk to Neil Walker to open the fifth and then a first-pitch homer by Austin Romine hurt.

"The leadoff walk, that kind of bothers you a little,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The leadoff walk and then the home run. Just can't walk those guys.''

Overall, Beeks, acquired July 31 from Boston for Nathan Eovaldi, worked five innings, striking out eight and allowing just two hits. But he walked two, and threw only 53 of his 93 pitches for strikes.

"The strike to ball ratio was not as sharp as we want it to be, but he still competed really well,'' Cash said.

Beeks said all four pitches were working and "my stuff was good when it was around the zone'' but he was behind too many hitters and got "a little bit out of rhythm'' in the fateful fifth. "There were a lot of positives and a lot of negatives,'' he said.

Rays hitters, meanwhile, managed only one hit in seven innings against Happ while failing to take advantage of four walks, and a season-low matching three hits for the night.

Cash said Happ had his usual "pretty simple approach" leading with his fastball, but the Rays hitters were not able to make the necessary adjustments.

"A day to tip your cap,'' Mallex Smith said.

Sternberg on stadium deadline

Principal owner Stuart Sternberg said he remains confident they will know enough about financing plans for the proposed $892 million Ybor City stadium by the Dec. 31 deadline to let St. Petersburg officials if they will leave Tropicana Field early under pre-negotiated terms. "I'm going on that impression,'' Sternberg said before Tuesday's game. "It was a different time and it's a different animal, but the Empire State Building was built in 11 months. We should be able to have this figured out by year end.'' Or, at least close enough. "If it's 93 percent of the way there then we'll have to figure out how to make it work,'' he said, "and if it's 30 percent of the way then we know the answer.'' Also, Sternberg said he maintains regular contact with the Tampa business leaders working on the stadium project "and they're very optimistic.''

Medical matters: Roe, Pham

RHP Chaz Roe rejoined the bullpen Tuesday ahead of schedule, a month after having arthroscopic surgery by Dr. Koco Eaton to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. "After that first week I felt good,'' Roe said. "It was just a matter of getting my strength back.'' Roe had been pitching well while dealing with the knee issue (1-1, 2.41 over 19 appearances), though his last outing didn't end well, a July 6 walkoff grand slam by Mets OF Jose Bautista. Cash welcomed the return of another veteran to join RHP Sergio Romo in the bullpen, and an additional option to deploy against tough right-handed hitters in high-leverage situations. "He's in a much better spot physically and mentally knowing he can go out there and perform pain free,'' Cash said. … OF Tommy Pham, who fractured his right foot in his second game after being acquired July 31 from St. Louis, has made significant progress, and is headed to a potentially short rehab assignment Wednesday with short-season Hudson Valley at nearby Staten Island. "He feels really good,'' Cash said. "Hopefully a quick turnaround.''

Number of the day

19 At-bats without a hit for rookie INF Brandon Lowe, the second longest career-starting streak in franchise history, behind Stephen Vogt's 25 in 2012.


• CF Kevin Kiermaier was excited to see that Foley's NY, the world-renowned baseball pub, named a burger for him this week — the Kiev-in Kiermaier burger, stuffed with housemade garlic butter — and may go in for one.

• The Rays have lost 12 consecutive series at Yankee Stadium, and now 12 straight opening games. They are 3-14 in their last 17, 9-29 in last their last 38.

• RHP Sergio Romo's next save will be the 100th of his career.

* First pitch was delayed 21 minutes due to earlier rain.