Tropicana Field Squeezes Another Loss from Yankees

Rays beat Yankees in Tampa for the eighth straight time

Getty Images

There have been moments during his Yankee tenure when it has seemed like Mark Teixeira might be a robot.

He doesn't have a particularly dynamic personality, his flaws (annual slow starts, a refusal to do anything but slam the ball into the teeth of defensive shifts) are so rigid that they appear to be programmed and he played first base with the steady excellence of a machine designed to do just that.

It doesn't make for the warmest mix and it is hard to see him ever capturing the imaginations of the masses, but robots prize getting the job done above all else.

There was a glitch in the operating system on Monday night. Teixeira made his first error of the season, whiffing on a ball down the line with two outs in the seventh inning and watching as the winning run of the Rays' 4-3 victory scored.

It makes for eight straight losses in Tampa for the Yankees and the nature of this one makes it feel like there's some kind of supernatural force at work when the Yankees tuck themselves inside the worst ballpark in the game. The force certainly isn't the spirit of George Steinbrenner, whose Tampa address made these games matter a little bit more to him and who must be rolling over wherever he is now as a result of this losing streak.

For the Yankees to lose that many straight games to any one team or in any one building is strange enough, but for it to happen because of a short circuit by Teixeira Bot is even stranger. Although, to be fair, the human members of the team also had a hand in sending the Yankees to their doom.

Freddy Garcia pitched well for five innings and was pushed right up against the prescribed pitch count for him in his first start since April as he started the sixth inning. Clay Rapada was warm in the pen, but Joe Girardi opted to stick with Garcia against the left-handed Carlos Pena. Pena always hits the Yankees well, so it wasn't much surprise that he homered to tie the game at two and chase Garcia from the proceedings.

It was a curious choice by a manager who is usually guilty of doing a bit too much, but the Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh to give Girardi a chance to wriggle off the hook. Boone Logan and David Robertson both fizzled, though, and the game was tied just in time for Elliot Johnson's grounder to play John Connor against the T(eixeira)-1000.

It's a less than ideal start to the final week of the first half, but six games left against the Rays and Red Sox mean that the Yankees can put it well in the rear view by Sunday. A winning week will leave the Yankees way up on the AL East for this point in the season, but it will only happen if they can solve the curse of the Trop in the next couple of days.

London 2012 is right around the corner. Get the top Olympic news, including what to watch, results and features on our local athletes at NBC's Olympic Zone.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us