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.
- 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.