I wrote in the game preview that this game could either be a pitchers duel or a slugfest.

It was certainly a slugfest. The Yankees just didn’t take part.

In one of the ugliest games you’ll ever see, the Rays crushed the Yankees 16-1, exposing the bullpen for a second straight night while also tattooing Ivan Nova in one of the worst starts of his career.

The Yankees wanted to start a new winning streak tonight, but it’s almost comical to think that that was even a remote possibility. Nova was trying to follow up his gutsy performance last Sunday against the Red Sox with a more polished outing against the Rays, but to say he didn’t have it tonight is a drastic understatement. 

An anemic Tampa offense turned into murder’s row when it pounded Nova for 8 runs on 8 hits, with 4 of those hits being home runs. Wil Myers, Evan Longoria, and Ryan Hanigan were the culprits, with Hanigan hitting 2 home runs. In case you were wondering, Hanigan had 2 home runs total for each the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

If that wasn’t terrible enough, Nova had to leave the game in the 5th inning while facing Longoria with what the Yankees deemed “right elbow soreness”. Newcomer Matt Daley, who was just called up from Scranton today, came in with a 1-1 count on Longoria. After getting him to fly out, he quickly surrendered a 3-run home run to Myers to make it a 10-1 ballgame.

Oh, silly me, I forgot to mention that the Yankees scored a run in the top of the 5th on a Kelly Johnson RBI double.

Anyway, Daley came back out for the 6th and allowed a Longoria RBI single and a James Loney RBI double to give the Rays a decent 12-1 lead. Dellin Betances soon relieved Daley and after a throwing error by Yangervis Solarte that allowed Longoria to score, Betances walked home another run. 14-1.

Once this game got out of reach and became comical, you felt it was going to result in a position player pitching. In 2009, Nick Swisher threw a scoreless inning against the Rays at the Trop, and tonight it was Dean Anna who was called upon to save the bullpen from further humility. Anna gave up a 2-run single to superhuman Hanigan to make it 16-1, but amazingly did not allow any further damage.

As I said, this game is what you’d call a “laugher”. You shake your head and move on. It’s early enough to rebound from this, and the Yankees still are two games over .500. Of course, it certainly doesn’t sound good for Ivan Nova, but all we can do is wait on the results of numerous tests that he’ll likely undergo sometime this week.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and you may want to avoid watching the game if you want to stomach all your food. Thanks to the doubleheader on Wednesday, it’ll be Vidal Nuno making the spot start as he goes up against Cesar Ramos. The game will begin at 1:40pm, and can be seen on YES. But I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted a break from the team for a day.