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The Yankees’ bats and bullpen cost them another game

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We’ve seen this one before.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After last night, tonight was quite the letdown. The Yankees offense just couldn’t seem to find a hit. Domingo German kept the game close, but once again, the Yankees bullpen couldn’t keep runs off the board. I really hope this whole “losing to bad teams at home” thing ends soon.

Overall, Domingo German had a good, not great night for the Yankees. There was certainly a lot to like. German went six innings and struck out nine without walking a batter, which by those metrics, makes it his best start of the year. On his way to all those strikeouts, he generated a phenomenal 19 swings-and-misses on 88 pitches. That’s a 21.5% rate. We’ve heard a lot about German’s swing-and-miss ability, and it was on display for big stretches tonight. However, when the Royals did make contact, it hurt.

Kansas City wasted no time getting some offense going. Back-to-back doubles from Adalberto Mondesi and Alex Gordon lead to a run, and they had a lead after the top of the first. The Yankees were able to answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, but it didn’t last.

Jorge Soler led off in the top of the second and German again ran into trouble. Soler took a middle-in fastball and deposited it into the left field seats. Off the bat, it didn’t look like it was gonna travel out, and Soler apparently didn’t think so either. Cheap homer or not, the runs count all the same, and the Yankees found themselves down again.

German worked around a couple of hits in the second and third, but the Royals got back on the board in the fourth when Ryan O’Hearn hit a 106 mph, 393 foot homer to left-center field, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead.

German definitely made some mistakes tonight, but it’s difficult to fault the fifth starter for a game like this. He kept the Yankees in it, and the same can’t be said of the bullpen.

Jonathan Holder was first out and struggled mightily once again. He gave up three hits and two runs and only registered one out before getting pulled. Two of those hits went to Martin Maldonado and Billy Hamilton, who are on the shortlist of worst hitters in the league. After tonight’s game, Holder is tied for most relief innings pitched on this team, and he has a 7.00 ERA. His two runs ultimately took the Royals’ lead from close to comfortable and was a real turning point in the game.

With just one run and four hits, it’s really easy to get frustrated with the lack of production from the Yankee lineup tonight. Numbers like that won’t win any team very many games, but it felt like there was some bad luck at play here tonight. Aaron Judge, Luke Voit, and DJ LeMahieu all had hard hit balls right at the defense.

It’s not a great excuse, but there’s also the fact the Yankees aren’t anywhere near full strength right now. When this many subs are in the lineup, nights like this are bound to happen. It’s not exactly always fun to watch, but at least Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton are nearing returns.

Despite the bad, I want to be sure to recognize Clint Frazier’s two-hit performance tonight. He’s absolutely on fire right now and sporting a .970 OPS. It’s probably still a little early to say he’s completely made it, but Yankee fans are finally starting to see what all the hype is about.

Tonight was tough. Familiar problems were on display yet again tonight, and the Yankees dropped another game to a bad team. They have three more games against the same bad team, and a series win is still on the table. CC Sabathia gets the ball for tomorrow’s 7:05 PM start.