The Yankees found a new low point, and this time, I don’t know that they will be able to go any lower. The Yankees were shut down by Matt Harvey at Camden Yards to lose for the eighth time in 12 games, falling to an embarrassing 9-13 on the season.
On Monday, I wrote the three wins over the Indians were nice, but the Yankees hadn’t resolved any of their issues. They only scored 16 runs in the four-game series, trailed early in three of the four, blew a three-run lead in the only game in which they scored first and continued their sloppy defensive play. Those issues which have been on display in New York, Tampa, Dunedin and Cleveland made their way to Baltimore as well.
New series, new city, new stadium, same team. The Yankees rolled over for Harvey like they have for every starting pitcher this season as they were one-hit for five innings and didn’t score until the sixth inning. They briefly provided excitement with a bases-loaded rally in the eighth thanks to three walks from the wild Tanner Scott, but Aaron Judge ran his team out of the inning. Judge inexplicably attempted to get into better scoring position with two outs in the eighth following a Gio Urshela base hit, and his decision cost the Yankees a run at the plate and cost them their rally on the basepaths.
After the game, the media only wanted to ask Boone about getting ejected from the game for not being allowed to challenge the call on the field of whether LeMahieu scored before Judge was tagged at third. Boone believes he must have been looking at bench coach Carlos Mendoza when the umpire looked into the dugout to see if he was going to challenge.
“I must have been looking at Mendy on the phone when he made that call because it seemed so early to me,” Boone said. “It was very quick. Usually, I have a good rhythm where I look with Mendy and I’m holding them off. Apparently, he said something and when I went to turn and challenge, it was too late.”
Trailing by 2 in the eighth inning, why wouldn’t Boone automatically challenge the call. When would he have another moment of that significance to challenge again in the game?
“Obviously,” Boone said, “I’m going to challenge that at that point in the game all day long.”
If Boone was “going to challenge that at that point in the game all day long” then why didn’t he?
The eighth-inning non-challenge and ejection became the postgame story when it should have never occurred if Judge didn’t try to unnecessarily take third. The real story was the Yankees’ lack of offense yet again.
“We had some chances,” Boone said, “Obviously.”
The Yankees have 13 losses this season and Boone has used nearly an identical line in all 13 of them about “having chances.” There’s always an excuse for why the Yankees lost. It’s never the starting pitcher’s fault or the offense’s fault, and it’s certainly never Boone’s fault.
Everyone keeps saying how the Yankees will hit. Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone, the players, David Cone. They have all said the Yankees will eventually break out. But it’s now been 26 days and 22 games of saying the same thing and nothing has changed. Seriously, nothing. Not a single player has shown a sign of turning their season around.
DJ LeMahieu, who once seemed slump-proof, picked up another 0-for-3; Giancarlo Stanton did what he does best, disappearing with the game on the line in the eighth; Judge picked up just his second extra-base hit in the last nine days and celebrated his 29th birthday by ending the Yankees’ eighth-inning rally; Rougned Odor inexplicably batted fourth again and rewarded his manager’s confidence in his career, which should be over, by going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts; Gio Urshela had a nice game and continues to be the Yankees’ best hitter; Gleyber Torres is now 3-for-15 since everyone thought he was snapping out of it in the series opener in Cleveland; Aaron Hicks had another strong performance, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts to fall to .162; an 0-for-4 for Gary Sanchez who is down to .182, Clint Frazier failed to get a hit again, but did pick up two walks. That summary could be used to describe any of a number of games this season.
This was going to be it. This 11-game stretch was going to be the 11 games to erase the previous 11 games in which the Yankees went 3-8 against the Rays, Blue Jays and Braves. Eleven games against the Indians, Orioles and Tigers were going to save the Yankees’ season. They would have the chance to beat up on the Indians, who now have the second-lowest payroll in the league by essentially admitting they don’t care to be competitive, they could continue their dominance over the Orioles at while miraculously missing John Means in a four-game series and finally they would get to see the Tigers, who boast the majors’ worst record and run differential. By the end of play on May 2 and after a month of bad baseball, the Yankees’ season would be in a disappointing, but acceptable place. I’m not so sure that’s going to happen anymore.
Something has to change with this team. Until it does, don’t expect different results from a team and a roster that has grown comfortable and accepting of losing.
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