By Lenn Robbins
ESPN might consider a 30-for-30 on the 2020 New York baseball season: Pain and Suffering in the Bronx and Queens.
While the Yankees lost first place in the AL East after being swept at home by the Tampa Bay Rays, the Mets had their game against the Marlins in Miami postponed as a unnamed player and coach tested positive for the coronavirus, according to multiple reports.
The first game of the weekend Subway Series at Citi Field, which was scheduled to begin Friday night, also has been postponed. The rest of the series is in jeopardy. The way the Yankees are losing games and players, so is a 28th World Series.
“Look, adversity’s coming our way, whether we like it or not,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s part of this game. That’s part of being a major league athlete and player. And I don’t care how great a season we have, we expect to have a great season and hopefully finish with the championship. But adversity we know is something inevitable. It’s going to come in different ways, in unexpected ways, and certainly in 2020 it’s been a lot of unexpected ways.
“I do feel like we’re uniquely equipped to handle it and deal with it and that’ll be the expectation as we grind through a tough spell here.”
That was the case last season when the Yankees set the MLB record for players placed on the Injured List. This, of course, is a much shorter season making every trip to the IL more of a blow.
Zach Britton, the team’s stud reliever, was placed on the IL before the game with a strained left hamstring. Gleyber Torres left the game in the third after stumbling while running to first. He will undergo further examination on his left hamstring. And starter James Paxton will have an MRI after experiencing some discomfort in his forearm/elbow area.
Britton joins Aaron Judge (right calf), Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring), Kyle Higashioka (right oblique), DJ LeMahieu (left thumb) on the Injured List. And let’s not forget Luis Severino and reliever Tommy Kahnle both of whom have been lost for the season after undergo Tommy John surgery.
The Mets have lost pitchers Noah Syndegaard (TJ surgery) and Marcus Stroman (calf tear/opt out) and outfielder Yeonis Cespedes (bruised ego/opt out). Jacob deGrom, the two-time Cy Young Award winner, was scheduled to start Thursday night after missing his last start to neck stiffness. He’s also had back stiffness this season, making his durability a question going forward.
In a season unlike no other, the Yankees and Mets are at the front of the list along with the Marlins, Cardinals and Reds, who have been ravaged by the coronavirus.
The Tampa Rays left Yankee Stadium Thursday afternoon with everything that’s not nailed down.
They left with first place in the Al East, which the Yankees had held since July 29th.
They left with the first three-game sweep of a visiting team in Yankee Stadium since, August of 2017 when the Cleveland Indians did so.
“They’ve got our number right now, obviously, so it’s unfortunate,” said reliever Adam Ottavino, who took the loss after being charged with three earned runs in the sixth. “We’re gonna have to find a way to have a little better outcomes against them. We play them three more times and plenty of season left, so I’m not really worried, but definitely a little frustrating to get thoroughly beaten like that.”
In other words, the Rays left the Yankees beaten, battered and bruised following their 10-5 thumping of the Bombers. The Yankees (16-9) have lost 5-of-6 to the Rays (17-9) this season and are one-half game back in the AL East.
Where’s the Red Sox when you need ‘em?