This west coast trip has to end. It has been nothing short of torturous for the Yankees. Tonight’s game may have been the worst of the bunch. The team overcame an early deficit, built up a nice little lead, and then the bullpen gave it all away. That has happened far too often in the last week. I’m officially over it. The A’s maddeningly topped the Yankees by a score of 7 - 6.
Luis Severino has been the Yankees best starter this season. Effectively the staff ace, he’s the pitcher you would want on the mound to stop a losing streak. Although he struggled early on, Severino gutted out a rather impressive start. It looked like it would get away from him early on, though. After a quick first inning, he allowed four runs in a laborious second. It took the right-hander 40 pitches to escape the frame, and not before a visit from Joe Girardi and Steve Donohue.
The inning got off to an inauspicious when Severino walked Khris Davis and Yonder Alonso. With one out, Stephen Vogt lifted a RBI double to center field. The Oakland rookies then went to work, as Matt Chapman, Jaycob Brugman, and Chad Pinder each drove in a run. Jed Lowrie mercifully grounded out to first to end the misery, but not before the A’s could take a 4 - 0 lead.
Thankfully Severino settled down after the disastrous second inning. He retired the side in order on six pitches in the third. He then cruised through the sixth inning. Severino struggled with control, having issued three leadoff walks, but give him credit for hanging in there. He held the A’s to four runs and gave the Yankees enough time to mount a comeback. Severino has impressed all season long, and while this outing wasn’t dominant, it showed that he’s growing into one tough starter. Nice job, Luis.
As for Sean Manaea, he seemed to baffle the Yankees early on without particularly impressive stuff. His fastball was sitting 92 - 93 mph and went straight down the middle. Thankfully the Bombers pounced on him, beginning in the third inning. With two outs and runners on first and third, Aaron Judge came to the plate. Manaea left a belt-high changeup out over the plate and Judge sent it into the right field seats for his 23rd home run on the year. It was a no-doubter off the bat. Joyce just turned around and watched it go.
Leaving a pitch in that spot to Judge is inadvisable. That’s his wheelhouse, and he didn’t miss it. The Yankees right fielder single-handedly put the team back in it, making it a 4 - 3 ballgame.
The Yankees tied the game in the fifth inning following a booming double off the bat of Ronald Torreyes. He scored after a Mason Williams single to right field. Manaea then loaded the bases after issuing back-to-back walks to Judge and Matt Holliday. He seemed to be on the ropes but the Yankees couldn’t take advantage. Starlin Castro flew out to right field to end the inning.
The team would have to wait until the sixth to take the lead. Chris Carter sent an 0 - 1 changeup straight away to center field. This one went 430 feet. It was a bomb. This was also Carter’s second home run in as many days. With news the Greg Bird was shut down from his rehab, the Yankees desperately need Carter to perform. Hitting go-ahead dingers is one way to do that.
That drove Manaea from the game, but it didn’t stop the Yankees offense. John Smith took over in the seventh and the Bombers roughed him up for a run. Judge hit a one-out triple — the ball went to the wall in center field which Brugman misplayed — Castro brought him home with a single. That made it 6 - 4 Yankees.
Unfortunately the Yankees’ middle relief corps couldn’t preserve the lead. Chasen Shreve allowed a run in the seventh inning to make it 6 - 5, but the real damage came in the eight against Jonathan Holder. The rookie right-hander surrendered two runs before escaping the inning with a replay assisted double play. That gave Oakland a 7 - 6 lead, and reaffirmed that Holder cannot be trusted at the moment. He has been quietly very bad since the Aroldis Chapman injury.
Those two runs proved decisive as the Yankees couldn’t get anything going off A’s closer Santiago Casilla. Judge worked a one-out walk, but Holliday and Castro struck out to end the game. Once again the Yankees lost an eminently winnable game. Maybe they’ll have better luck tomorrow, but we’ve been saying that for a few days now.
The Yankee have yet to officially announce their starter for tomorrow’s game, but whoever it is, he will face off against Jesse Hahn. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 PM, so that gives us some time to decompress from this latest loss.