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Game 58: The Yankees are a Slog

The Yankees once again embarrassed themselves offensively, striking out 15 times against the Red Sox in a 5-2 loss. Honestly, the game wasn’t even that close, and it felt over from the very first inning of the game. If you can’t tell already, be warned: the ensuing takeaways are going to be very grouchy and potentially whiny.

Let’s get right to ’em.

1. Michael King Battles But Falls Short: Honestly, in the first inning, I was ready to be very angry at Michael King. I really was. A one-out single and a two-out single opened up the evening for the Red Sox, which brought up Rafael Devers with two outs. Devers, of course, is one of the reasons Boston has been such a formidable offense in 2021, hitting .279/.350/.592 (150 wRC+) on the season. It is essential not to let batters like that beat you, especially when you get them into a quick 0-2 count. That generally means not locating your 0-2 pitch here:

Predictably, Devers absolutely obliterated this pitch into the second deck in right field. That made it 3-0 Boston. The home run carried a .250 WPA, per FanGraphs and bought Boston’s win probability to 75%, but it felt higher than that to me. Did anyone really think that the Yankees could score 4 runs in a single game?

But let’s be fair here. It was an inauspicious start for King, but he really turned it around after that. And I mean he really did. In fact, King needed just 42 pitches to get through his final 4.1 innings of work. He even threw an immaculate inning. Here’s the video:

It was actually a very good outing, all things considered. King lasted 5.1 innings, allowed 6 hits, 3 runs, and struck out 5. I give him a lot of credit for the way he handled the rest of the game – and honestly, we should be happy that the 7th starter gave up 3 runs and pitched into the 6th. Still, with the 2021 Yankees, giving up 3 runs is basically a concession.

2. The Yankee Offense is Bafflingly Bad: I’m not joking about that last sentence. Three runs is basically an auto-loss this year. Look at this:

Today was the 58th game of the season for the Yankees. That means they’ve scored 2 runs or less in 40% – 40%! – of their games. That is unacceptable and it is embarrassing. And it’s not like they don’t have their chances, either, which almost makes it worse.

Tonight, for example, the Yankees were 0-5 with runners in scoring position, including an Aaron Judge double play with two on in the first, a Rougned Odor strikeout with two on and two out in the 5th and a Clint Frazier flyout in the 6th with two on and two out. Giancarlo Stanton added a double play in the 6th just for good measure.

That right there is the story of the Yankees season: blown opportunities, double plays, and a squandered pitching performance. Making matters worse for the Giancarlo double play is that it immediately preceded an Aaron Judge home run – thank god for him – and a mini-rally that followed.

I don’t really know what else to say about the Yankee offense at this point. It is deflating to watch. We’ve covered many times how the Yankees can’t get a hit against a strike, but that doesn’t make it any more fun to watch. I mean, just look at this:

Sickening and inexplicable. There are PLENTY of pitches right over the heart of the plate there, and it’s about a third foul, a third looking, and a third whiffed. How is this even possible? One night, I get. A third of a season? Come on now.

Leftovers

  • Bullpen Malaise: The Yankee bullpen has been excellent all season, of course. Tonight, though a two-out, two-run double in the 6th from Marwin Gonzalez off Lucas Luetge made it 5-0 – and really took the sting out of a two-run rally in the bottom half of the frame. At least Nestor Cortes was good, even if the mustache is aswful.
  • Enough of Rougned Odor: He’s had his moments, but I’m sick of Odor. Call me irrational, but he’s struck out nearly 40% of the time since returning from injury on May 18. He had one 4 hit game in that stretch but otherwise just has 6 hits overall. And he hits in every spot in the lineup. Baffling.
  • Bright Side Alert: The top 5 hitters in the lineup went 8-19 (.421) with a walk in this one. That includes two hits from DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, and Gleyber Torres. Pretty good!
  • Downside Alert: Unfortunately, the bottom 4 hitters went 0-15 with 10 –10! – strikeouts. Their collective OPS on the season is in the .650 range. Hideous, embarrassing stuff.

The Yanks and Sox will play the second of this three-game set tomorrow night at 7:15 pm ET. That game will be on FOX. Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 5.64 ERA) will take on Jameson Taillon (1-4, 5.10 ERA). Enjoy your night, everyone.

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8 Comments

  1. TheBillyMartinVanBurenBoys

    I would never renounce my fandom but I am done hanging on every pitch for the rest of this season. I shut off ESPN and MLB alerts on my phone. It’s just not worth it. I was sitting in my daughters recital last night getting SO frustrated by the game alerts I was getting. This team as it is currently constructed is just not worth my time or energy, nor anyone else’s IMO. I’ll still read this blog faithfully to keep up with wins (haha) and I may even tune into a game when they’re nationally televised but other than that I am going to do my best to enjoy my summer without the stress this year’s team brings to me. I will let y’all know if I fall off the wagon!!

  2. TheBilly

    Certainly not renouncing my fandom of this team by any stretch but I am done following and hanging on every pitch for the rest of this year. I shut off ESPN and MLB notifications to my phone last night. It’s just not worth it. I was sitting in my daughters recital and getting SO frustrated by the alerts that would come up on my watch. This team as it is currently constructed is not worth my time and energy, nor anyone else’s IMO. I’ll still read this blog faithfully every day to keep up with wins (haha) and losses and I’ll probably watch them on tv every now and then when they’re nationally televised but other than that I think I’m going to just enjoy the rest of my summer without this stress! I’ll let y’all know if I fall off the wagon!

  3. DZB

    Once again, let’s not forget that so much of the blame for this awfulness is the plan for the richest team in the sport to save a bit of cash by staying under the luxury tax threshold. (and I would argue that the marginal cost of going over is less than the marginal loss in revenue by not being a winning team). The best example of the cost of this approach is Odor. He was a luxury tax savings move and he is absolutely awful.

  4. Dani

    “the bottom 4 hitters went 0-15 with 10 –10! – strikeouts”

    Well, they’re all hitting below .200, so that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Like I said a bazillion times this season: you can’t win games or score runs, when you constantly run out 4+ guys hitting below .200. The guys hitting above .200 aren’t hitting much either, Judge is the only Yankee hitting above .267.

    There’s just too many holes in the lineup this season. I really hope they recognize that too and do the smart thing at the deadline. And hey, that would even be helpful to stay under the luxury tax 😛

    It really is a shame though. The one year where they have legit top 5 pitching in MLB (both 4th best ERA and FIP) they can’t hit a lick.

  5. Steve

    It’s like a bizarro world version of the Yankees in which their chances of scoring increase with fewer men on base.

  6. James M Dunn

    Its becoming almost impossible to watch these games, let alone thinking of going to one. The pitching has been fine with the bullpen being outstanding. The offense….well is offensive. Terrible situational hitting, base running, power and all those double plays…. plus mediocre to poor fielding. The worst however is the inevitability of it all, you can just tell they are not coming back in many games. The team looks lifeless and lacks leadership. Time for a change at the top as many of these issues fall on the coaching staff as well. Taking into consideration the awful 3rd base coaching, incomprehensible lineups and always feeling out managed in tight games. Enough already, please

  7. mikenyc2007

    Sanchez and Gardner aren’t even putting up competitive at-bats….their performance makes the bottom of the lineup such a black hole.
    IMO put Stanton in LF and Judge in CF with Frazier in RF; or
    put Andujar in LF and Frazier in center.
    As the game proceeds, Boone can sub in Gardner and move the pieces for rest/defensive alignment as the game warrants.
    Their team defense sucks anyway, and Stanton played 130+ games in the OF for years before joining the Yanks, and perhaps moving his legs throughout the game will be better than sitting on the bench and all night- because that certainly hasn’t worked.
    Gardner cannot hit anymore, and Andujar wakes up hitting…. to think that the stats or reality show Gardner should start over Andujar when Eovaldi is throwing bb’s is silly since Andujar, like Judge, has power to wait on the ball and go the other way.
    Sanchez looks lost, and mentally he looks fatigued. IMO phantom IL Sanchez with a toe injury so he can rework his stance where he eliminates the hitch that has developed over the years, put Higgy there every day ( as no one expects offense, but he can remember how many outs in the inning there are) and deal with his ineptitude but strong D.

  8. Jordan

    Kinda hoping they don’t make the playoffs at this point. That’s the only way ownership will do anything. No shot yanks are winning the World Series under Boones leadership and management style, or under this entire core front office. The owners know that if they don’t make the playoffs, fans will not bother to watch unless major moves are made. Their “playoffs are a crapshoot” attitude means as long as they make the playoffs they’ll continue to run this team out there.

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