The Yankees took the field in the Bronx on Sunday for a crucial game against a Cleveland team from a weak division that was playing below-.500 baseball for the season. The Yankees had one of the game’s best pitchers going for them while Cleveland sent a rookie with a 6.03 ERA to the mound at Yankee Stadium. What could go wrong?
The answer: everything apparently. The Yankees dropped yet another crucial game in embarrassing fashion in the Bronx this afternoon. When the dust had mercifully settled, they were on the wrong end of an 11-1 drubbing at the hands of the baseball team from Cleveland.
The optimism that the Yankees and their fans felt with their ace on the mound dissipated pretty quickly in the top of the first inning. After plunking leadoff batter Bradley Zimmer, Gerrit Cole issued a one-out walk to José Ramírez. Two groundballs with eyes later — one from Bobby Bradley one from Harold Ramirez — and Cleveland had themselves an early two-run lead.
Matters went from the frying pan into the fire for Cole and the Yankees in the top of the third. Cleveland strung together five singles, including one from José Ramírez after a six-and-a-half-minute at-bat. When the murder by 1,000 paper cuts had ended, three runners crossed the plate and the Yankees trailed 5-0. Given how the offense looked on both Saturday and Sunday, the deficit felt even greater.
After granting Cleveland some fortuitous placement on some of their batted balls, the baseball gods of randomness turned their eyes toward the Yankees in the bottom of the third inning. Gio Urshela led off the Yankees half of the inning with a line drive that traveled 355 feet into right field. Fortunately for the Yankees, it was directed at the part of the right-field wall 354 feet away from home plate. Regardless of who fortune favored, the Yankees were on the board but still trailed 5-1; they squandered another opportunity with runners on when both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton flew out to end the inning.
Not too long thereafter, Cleveland decided to dispense with the subtle tactics and reliance on good fortune. José Ramírez led off the fifth inning with a home run to right field, and then Cleveland catcher Roberto Pérez led off the sixth inning with a solo shot of his own – this one a 422-foot bomb over the center-field wall. Cleveland had themselves a 7-1 lead and Cole’s day ended two batters later. The Yankees’ ace left the game having allowed 10 hits and seven runs in 5.2 innings.
The Cleveland baseball team tacked on one run in the seventh inning, another two runs in the eighth, and yet another in the ninth inning to add to the Yankees’ embarrassment. Heck, the Yankees even made two errors to contribute to the Cleveland cause.
For their part, the Yankees’ bats accepted the shame with civility, refusing to even threaten a comeback of any sort as only 4 of the Yankees’ final 21 batters reached base safely after Urshela’s third-inning home run. On the day, Yankees batters struck out 11 times and drew a grand total of zero walks.
If there was ever a time a team needed to demonstrate some mental discipline, now is that time for the Yankees. This weekend needs to get put in the rearview mirror immediately as there’s another crucial game tomorrow, as there typically is this time of year. To make matters even more dire, both Toronto and Boston won this afternoon to put the Yankees 1.5 games out of a playoff spot. The A’s won in Anaheim, too, and now they’re tied in the loss column with the Yankees. The situation is bleak.
The woeful Texas Rangers will be in town tomorrow night for the start of a three-game series, as the Yankees must again look to right the ship. First pitch is at 7:05 pm in the Bronx with Néstor Cortes Jr. facing right-hander A.J. Alexey.