The Boston Red Sox swept the New York Yankees for the first time since June 2011. The stagnating offense continually beseeches their pitching staff to shepherd the team to victory. Unfortunately, they couldn’t answer the call this weekend. The current Yankees embarrassment was on display for the country to see through three nights of nationally televised games. Here’s how they played out:
Funk Persists, Yankees Drop Friday Opener
David Cone put it well on the YES broadcast, alluding to any and all mistakes being magnified when you’re not winning. Those mistakes permeated throughout their first game of the season against the Red Sox on Friday. It began with Michael King‘s middle-middle fastball that Rafael Devers clobbered into the second deck to make it 3-0. Next was Aaron Judge‘sdouble-play following back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the 1st. Giancarlo Stanton grounded into a twin-killing of his own preceding the Yankees “offensive outburst” in the 6th. And even the more benign mistakes, like Brett Gardner‘s bobble turning a single into a double and DJ LeMahieu‘s missed catch on a foul pop, just show a lack of focus and urgency.
The Yankees lost this game 5-2. They struck out 15 times against three Red Sox pitchers. The bottom four hitters in the lineup went 0-15 with two-thirds of those via strikeout. However, against all odds, there were a few bright spots. King followed his mistake to Devers by pitching an immaculate inning in the fourth, the Yankees seventh in history, and first since Dellin Betances in 2017. Nestor Cortes Jr. also saved the bullpen some bullets with two shutout innings. Finally, Phil Nevin made a happy return to the Yankees coaching staff following bouts of COVID and a severe infection. He lost 22lbs in his 25 days away from the team and said his illness would have been worse if he had not been vaccinated.
Green’s Implosion Barely Overshadows Snoozing Bats in Game Two
Chad Green entered the tied eighth inning of Saturday night’s game having surrendered only one earned since May 8th. He exited after giving up four runs on four hits, including a back-breaking monster two-run shot by rookie Bobby Dalbec. Inevitably the Yankees lost 7-3, their offense mewling through the final two innings. “I think we’re one pitch away, one at-bat away, one big hit away. That’s just baseball sometimes,” said Green postgame. He echoed the sentiments of his manager, who along with his general manager, have proven too stubborn to make big changes following the Yankees’ disillusioning losses.
Gleyber Torres yet again provided the spark for the Yankees. He hit a two-run homer in the fourth and picked up his starter Jameson Taillon in the sixth with a sacrifice fly. That homer was only the Yankees’ 21st with runners-on, the third-lowest total in the league. Combined with their league-worst 39 productive outs and 13% GIDP rate, the Yankees continually heap putrid ingredients into their recipe for a disastrous season.
Blown Call Buoys Sox to Sweep on Sunday
The Yankees were left seething on Sunday evening, but it again stemmed from their offensive impotence. Following a clutch RBI-double by Torres tying the game in the ninth, Rougned Odor struck out looking on an egregiously outside pitch. After two Yankees coach not named Aaron Boone were tossed, Xander Bogaerts lined a hanging slider from Luis Cessa for a double to plate the winning run in the 10th. The Yankees lost 6-5, their fifth extra-innings loss this season, and now 18th loss when giving up 5+ runs.
Domingo Germán was effective yet again, going 5.2 innings allowing only a solo homer to Alex Verdugo in the first. Four straight Yankees hits, capped by Gary Sanchez’s two-RBI double, gave the Yankees the lead in the bottom of the inning. Amazingly, the Yankees held the lead for five innings, their longest such hold since May 23rd. Though Judge plated the third run via a groundout, Lucas Luetge spoiled the party for the second time in the weekend. His inside-slider caught too much of the plate, allowing Marwin González to porch one just over the fence in right. Bogaerts’ sacrifice fly brought the Sox ahead before the ninth inning theatrics, but the end result again proved inevitable given the Yankees’ recent ineptitude at the plate.
Notes for the Yankees Week Ahead
Three off days in a week don’t come around often. For the New York Yankees, they couldn’t come soon enough. The team, coaching staff, and entire front office need a hard look in the mirror over the next week. They’ll travel to Minnesota on Monday for a three-game set against the Twins. Yankees fans know all too well how they’ve fared recently away to lowly AL Central opposition.
A fortuitously odd off-day on Friday precedes a two-game set in Philadelphia. It will be the Yankees’ first road interleague series of the season. Maybe it’s the perfect time for Yankees pitchers to show what they learned about making productive outs in Spring Training.