On the eve of the MLB trade deadline, the Yankees looked like a team in need of reinforcements.
The Yankees sputtered on both sides of the diamond Monday night in a 5-1 loss at home to the Rays, with the offense mustering only three hits and starting pitcher Jhony Brito surrendering four home runs.
After striking out 18 times in Sunday’s loss to the Orioles, the Yankees struck out 12 times Monday.
Brito was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before Monday’s game to make a spot start in place of Domingo Germán, who was scratched after experiencing right armpit discomfort a day earlier. In a surprise move, however, German entered in the fifth inning and pitched the final five innings.
Tampa Bay came into Monday’s game with a 7-16 record in July but led from start to finish. Brandon Lowe crushed a two-run home run off Brito to give the Rays a first-inning lead, setting the tone for a night full of Tampa Bay big flies. Wander Franco added a third-inning solo shot, and Isaac Paredes and Josh Lowe hit back-to-back blasts in the fourth.
Brito allowed five runs in four innings to fall to 4-5 this season. German, who pitched the 24th perfect game in MLB history last month, experienced the armpit issue Sunday and was unable to play catch, manager Aaron Boone said before Monday’s game.
The Yankees didn’t believe the injury to be serious, according to Boone, who said German was scheduled to see team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad before first pitch. German threw 72 pitches and didn’t allow a run in his five innings of relief.
Rays ace Tyler Glasnow cruised through the Yankees lineup, striking out eight over seven innings. The Yankees’ lone offense against him came on a second-inning solo home run by Jake Bauers.
The Yankees threatened in the sixth inning after Aaron Judge walked and Anthony Rizzo lined a hard single off the right field wall, putting runners at first and third with one out. Giancarlo Stanton grounded into an inning-ending double play, however, eliciting boos from the Yankee Stadium crowd.
Judge went 0-for-1 with three walks as the designated hitter Monday in his third game since returning from an injured big right toe that kept him out nearly two months. He also walked three times Friday against Baltimore, then went 3-for-5 with a home run in Saturday’s game against the Orioles.
The Yankees, who fell to 55-51, remain in last place in the loaded American League East and outside of the AL playoff picture. They are rumored to be seeking help in left field, at third base and in the starting rotation. They have until Tuesday’s 6 p.m. deadline to pull off any trades but are yet to make one.
Before the game, the Washington Nationals traded Jeimer Candelario to the Chicago Cubs. Candelario, who was born in New York City, was widely seen as a fit for the Yankees, who could have used the switch-hitter to diversify their largely right-handed lineup and replace the injured Josh Donaldson at third base.
The Rays, who improved to 65-44, are in second place in AL East and hold the top AL Wild Card spot. They added starting pitcher Aaron Civale, who is 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA this season, in a trade with the Guardians before Monday’s game.
The Yankees are set to continue their three-game series against the Rays on Tuesday night, with Carlos Rodón scheduled to pitch against Tampa Bay’s Zach Eflin.