Losing streaks happen. I get it. Teams struggle all the time, and I bet you could cherry-pick a few weeks where the teams of the late-90’s looked absolutely dreadful. This losing streak in particular, though, has just been especially painful.
The biggest qualm among them is that they were largely “winnable” games, in that they held a lead and couldn’t hold on. On Tuesday, the game was tied at three until the seventh. On Friday, they gave up the tying and go-ahead run in the eighth. On Thursday, they lost in the tenth inning. The thing that ties these together is partially just dumb luck and sequencing not falling in their favor, and part of it is bad bullpen work and late mistakes.
That’s where this game comes in. In the first few innings, things weren’t looking too bad. Luis Severino allowed a leadoff home run to Cameron Maybin, but he recovered after that through the second. The offense immediately started clicking against an immediately beleaguered Jesse Chavez. The Yankees notched a run in the first after two walks set up a Starlin Castro single.
They ratcheted up in the second: Chris Carter made himself useful and doubled, and Ronald Torreyes hit an infield single off of Chavez, and he was luckily uninjured. Brett Gardner grounded out to force in another run, which then set up Aaron Judge with two runners on and two outs. Judge did what he is now accustomed to doing, hitting a booming three-run shot into Monument Park.
That’s end of the good part of the recap. Stop reading now if you want to go to sleep without being sad, or you’re just waking up and you want to enjoy your breakfast. Severino wasn’t great, but I’ll say right now that he wasn’t the reason the Yankees lost.
He allowed the Angels to creep back in the third: after allowing a single to Cliff Pennington and walking Maybin, Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar knocked a run in to bring the game within two. The Angels would shave that deficit to one after an Escobar double and a Luis Valbuena single in the sixth.
Severino was fine overall, right before I tell you how it all ended badly immediately after: six-plus innings, eight hits, five earned runs, two walks, and five strikeouts. OK, so now on to the inning from Hell. Severino got into the seventh, but didn’t make it very far after allowing a single to Pennington, and then an absolutely bone-headed error from Castro, easily a double-play ball, put runners on first and third with nobody out.
Now, Chasen Shreve enters. That’s odd. Betances should be available because he has barely pitched this month, and he may have thrown one inning yesterday, but he should be fine. No, Joe Girardi wanted to match up the left-hander with Kole Calhoun. Calhoun hit a sac fly, and the game was tied. Then, Betances comes in. Why not just bring in Betances to begin with?
Well, it didn’t even matter, because Betances blew up immediately (what do I know?): Maybin makes it to third on a Sanchez throwing error, and Pujols hits him home and the Angels take the lead. That was the end right there. Betances walked Escobar, and then threw a really wild pitch to move the runners to second and third. He struck out Valbuena, and then allowed a back-breaking two-run double to Andrelton Simmons, putting the Angels up by three. Betances then struck out Eric Young, Jr., but the damage was done.
From there, it was only futility. The Yankees were naturally shut out by the stellar (rolls eyes) Angels bullpen, led by Yusmeiro Petit, Cam Bedrosian, Keynan Middleton, and David Hernandez. Naturally. Domingo German allowed another couple of runs in the eighth, for what that’s worth.
The Yankees are now 39-31, a record demolished by teams much worse than them. They will now take on the Texas Rangers, still at home, a three-game set. Masahiro Tanaka will be taking on fellow countrymen Yu Darvish in what is sure to be a Friday night treat. The game starts at 7:05 PM, and can be seen on YES and MLB.tv.