The Yankees went to Boston for three games and were swept. They have lost eight of 11 and four straight.
1. I didn’t think things could get worse for the Yankees over the weekend after they were humiliated in a 15-5 drubbing by the Red Sox on Friday night. But not only did things get worse (a lot worse), the 10-run loss in the three-game series opener was actually the best the Yankees looked at Fenway Park.
The Yankees began the series by scoring a run in the very first inning. That run was quickly erased when Domingo German allowed a pair of doubles, a walk and hit a batter for two earned runs in the bottom of the first inning. German, clearly choosing to pitch without sticky stuff, proceeded to allow another three baserunners and two runs in the second. Trailing by three with this Yankees offense meant a comeback would be nearly impossible, and German made sure it was impossible when he, Matt Krook in his major-league debut and the Yankees’ defense combined for six runs and a 10-1 Red Sox lead through three innings. By the end of the fourth, the Red Sox led 13-1. The game was long over when the Yankees scored four meaningless, garbage-time runs.
2. In the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, the Yankees once again got out to an early lead with a pair of runs in the first inning. Considering the Red Sox were willing to punt the game by starting barely-in-the-majors reliever Kaleb Ort as an opener with the plan to use 27th man Chris Murphy making his second career appearance as the bulk reliever, the game favored the Yankees.
Instead of ending the game in the first or taking advantage of Ort or Murphy at any point, the Yankees were shut out for the final 8 2/3 innings. After Gleyber Torres’ one-out home run in the first, they recorded just one hit (a sixth-inning leadoff double by Jake Bauers, in which he was obviously stranded) until there were two outs in the ninth.
Clarke Schmidt eventually imploded because Aaron Boone let him implode despite having an extremely well-rested Michael King ready in the bullpen, as Boone didn’t go to King with the lead, but rather once the game was tied. King couldn’t hold the game at 2-2, and the Yankees lost 6-2.
3. After that game, Boone started to get a little testy with the media, as he does when things aren’t going well for his team, which they haven’t been for a large part of his tenure.
“They’re gonna hit,” Boone said about his offense.
“‘Big G’ is gonna hit,” Boone said about Giancarlo Stanton, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the day game.
“They’re gonna get it rolling,” Boone said about his offense, much like he said in 2021 and 2022.
Boone even took it one step further, using a prop for his postgame presentation.
“That team we’re rolling out there (he held up the lineup card from the 6-2 loss),” Boone said, “They’re capable of doing damage defensively.”
It was unbelievable comedy from the manager as a desperate man in desperate times. There’s no way Boone could actually believe a lineup featuring a majority of hitters with sub-.300 on-base percentages were capable of doing any damage other than to the Yankees’ postseason odds.
4. I grew up hating the Braves with the Yankees having played them in the 1996 and 1999 World Series (thankfully, winning both). But now I find myself jealous of the Braves and envious of their fans. The Braves have played 72 games and their four core position players (Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Matt Olson and Austin Riley) have all played every game this season. It’s no surprise the Braves are 22 games over .500 and have the best record in the National League, and it was no surprise when they trailed 5-0 early on Sunday only to win 14-6. A week ago, in a doubleheader the Braves played all their regulars in both games. Unsurprisingly, they swept the doubleheader. What a concept.
You know Boone is feeling it when he plays Stanton in both games of a doubleheader and claims he was going to play Stanton in the outfield in Boston (though he didn’t like a classmate saying they were going to say an answer to a question only after the answer is announced). Boone tried to play his best available players in both games on Sunday, but it didn’t matter because nearly all of the best available players on the Yankees belong in Triple-A. Unfortunately, Oswaldo Cabrera was the only one of them to be sent to Triple-A after Sunday night.
5. Like the first two games of the series, the Yankees started the series finale with a first-inning run. And then the offense did its daily disappearing act for a second time in the day. The Yankees never scored another run and lost 4-1. Kyle Higashioka committed catcher’s interference with the bases loaded to force in the go-ahead run in the fourth inning, hours after Nick Ramirez forced in a run with a balk in the first game. And hours after Boone said, “’Big G’ is gonna hit,’” Stanton went 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts.
Brayan Bello shut down the Yankees with seven innings of one-run ball, and after scoring two runs on four hits in the day game of the doubleheader, the offense Boone said was “capable of doing damage offensively” scored one run on five hits in the night game. The Yankees produced three runs on nine hits in 18 innings on Sunday at Fenway Park.
6. At various times during Sunday’s doubleheader, Fenway Park broke out in expected ‘Yankees suck’ chants and I too wanted to join in on the fun. The Yankees do suck. Within the last week, Boone and the seemingly alternate captain (with Judge out) Anthony Rizzo both used the word to describe the team’s play.
“Losing sucks,” Boone said last weekend when the Red Sox beat up on the Yankees in the Bronx.
“It sucks,” Rizzo said after being swept over the weekend, “It’s definitely a low in the season.”
7. The Yankees have the lowest batting average and OPS in the majors since June 4, which was the first game Judge missed with his current toe injury that no one seems to know when it will be healed. They have the third lowest team OBP in the majors this season. They have lost four straight, are now 1-5 against the Red Sox (who are 32-34 against everyone else) and just went 3-8 against the Red Sox, White Sox and Mets. Add it all up and you have a team that sucks, though that’s not how Boone sees it.
“For the most part, we have been playing pretty well,” Boone said after Sunday night’s loss. “We just haven’t been scoring.”
Playing well and scoring go hand in hand in a game in which the object is to score more runs than your opponent. It takes a delusional person to see the brand of baseball the Yankees have played since they left Dodger Stadium two weeks ago and consider things to be going “pretty well.”
8. The Yankees are so poorly constructed that even when Judge returns the ceiling for this season remains exceptionally low. There’s nothing to suggest Stanton and Josh Donaldson will become their former selves since both are coming off the worst seasons of their careers and look worse this season than they did last season. The hope that DJ LeMahieu is actually healthy is fading, and once Rizzo’s mid-summer back issues flare up, a resurgence from him will be unlikely.
9. As I wrote last week, Bauers is the hitter I trust most right now on a team that has the second-highest payroll in the sport, and that’s disturbing. What’s even more disturbing is that this horrifically designed roster isn’t just a problem for this season, but is going to be a problem next season as well, as the star of the upcoming free-agent class is Harrison Bader. Bader declined the chance to come off the injured list to play in Boston this weekend, citing not feeling comfortable defensively yet. It was determined he would play two more rehab games and be activated on Tuesday, missing three actual games against a division opponent. I hope he was able to find himself defensively in the two meaningless Double-A games.
10. The Yankees have yet another day off on Monday before beginning a six-game homestand against the Mariners and Rangers. Bader should be back on Tuesday (until his next injury), so the Yankees will get a little healthier, though the only player return that matters is Judge’s.
Maybe on Tuesday Yankees fans will be given a positive update on Judge with an actual timeline for a return. Maybe Carlos Rodon will still be on the right path to eventually pitch for the Yankees as he continues to make about $700,000 each time his spot in the rotation comes up. Maybe at least one of Stanton, Rizzo, Donaldson or LeMahieu will start to hit on the homestand. I doubt it. All of it. It would take a true moron to think one or more of those things is going to happen. Then again, you have to be a moron to still be watching this team.
My book The Next Yankees Era: My Transition from the Core Four to the Baby Bombers is available as an ebook!