The extremely impressive start to the season for the Yankees has given us plenty of reasons to believe in them, but there was always going to be some amount of regression to the mean. While they’ve still had some solid performances recently, it does appear the Yankees are dealing with some of that regression and are in a bit of a slump.
Once again, the Yankees’ offense was held in check. This time it was the Pirates, as starter José Quintana allowed one run on six hits while striking out seven. They had their chances, recording ten hits on the day, outhitting Pittsburgh, but they didn’t cash in on enough of their chances.
Meanwhile, Jameson Taillon also continued his recent struggles, allowing five runs on six hits in 5.1 innings, in his first start against his former team. That ended up being a couple runs too many as the Yankees dropped the opener in Pittsburgh to the Pirates, 5-2.
The Pirates opened the scoring for the game in the second inning. In his first start against the organization that drafted him, Taillon allowed a solo shot to Daniel Vogelbach, giving Pittsburgh an early lead. In the very next half inning, a Bryan Reynolds diving catch kept the Yankees off the board.
A few innings later, the Pirates took their lead out further. After Reynolds led off with a double, Jack Suwinski added a second Pittsburgh home run on the day. After a couple more batters, with Oneil Cruz going on the pitch, former Yankees Ben Gamel took a pitch into the gap, allowing Cruz to score all the way from first.
The Yankees had a couple chances, but were mostly held in check by Quintana until the fifth inning. Two batters after an Isiah Kiner-Falefa double, Aaron Judge brought him home with a single to get the Yankees on the board.
Taillon again had far from his best stuff, but he managed to eat through 5.1 innings before finally being removed. He left with a runner still on second, which eventually came around to score on a Cruz sacrifice fly. Lucas Luetge replaced him and eventually got out of the inning, but put a couple runners on before escaping the jam.
A golden opportunity for a rally arose in the seventh but again amounted to nothing. With two on and one out, the exact man who you would want up, Judge, came to the plate. However, he grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Yankees got one run back but again let an opportunity for more pass by. Matt Carpenter singled home Gleyber Torres to cut into the deficit somewhat, but he would end up being stranded on base.
Aroldis Chapman pitched the eighth for the Yankees and had a much better outing than he did in his first outing back from the injured list. The lefty threw a 1-2-3 frame, getting two grounders and a shallow popup.
Even in the ninth, they Yankees had one last chance when Kiner-Falefa record his third hit of the day. LeMahieu very nearly grounded into a game-ending double play in the next at bat, but a botched transfer by Diego Castillo gave them one last chance. However once again, they just couldn’t cash in, as Judge struck out looking to end the game.
The fact that a bad stretch includes a couple remarkable comebacks and a 19-run doubleheader day shows that the Yankees are a very good team. They’re just not at their best recently. They’ll try to get it going again tomorrow night at 7:05pm ET, when Luis Severino faces Mitch Keller.