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Yankees 1, Athletics 2: New York loses to one of the worst teams in baseball history

Offensive incompetence spoiled a great start from Jhony Brito and the Yankees lost to an all-time terrible team.

New York Yankees v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

It is depressingly apparent that the Yankees will go as far as their pitching staff will take them, because the offense is an abomination. Facing an all-time terrible team — one that carried a league-worst 6.08 ERA and 5.39 FIP into play on Tuesday and was on pace for over 120 losses — the New York offense managed just a single run. It’s frankly unbelievable how bad this offense is. If you have to shut out one of the worst teams in the history of modern baseball to win, sustained success is probably not in your future.

The Yankee bats were on brand early, doing absolutely no damage in the first inning. The bottom half was eventful though. Jose Trevino and Josh Donaldson played a game of “who’s got it” on a mile-high pop up that landed in foul territory, extending an Oakland at-bat that eventually ended with a walk. But after that, Trevino put on a gunshow, throwing behind the runner at first on a high fastball from Jhony Brito, picking the runner off and contributing to a painless inning.

The Yankees assured themselves that they wouldn’t have to worry about getting no-hit as Jake Bauers notched a single in the second, though he advanced no further. Meanwhile, Brito continued setting A’s up and knocking A’s down. He was doing his part early, giving the bats a chance to jump on Oakland and hopefully knock them out.

That, of course, did not happen. Given the bumbling ineptitude of this lineup, no one should be shocked. And in the bottom of the third, former Yankee Tyler Wade tripled with one out and scored on the very next pitch, a broken-bat Esteury Ruiz blooper into left that made it 1-0, Oakland. Brito escaped without any further damage, however, after Ruiz made the final out trying to steal third base. I hope no Little League coaches were watching.

After the feckless Yankee lineup once again went down harmlessly, Oakland extended the lead in the fourth. Seth Brown, who entered the game with a .586 OPS for the A’s, tagged Brito for a solo shot to right. That meant New York was now losing to Oakland by multiple runs. It’s really hard to like the 2023 Yankees sometimes; not gonna lie.

Finally, mercifully, the Yankees got on the board in the fifth. Leading off the frame, Josh Donaldson unloaded on a hanging breaking ball from Blackburn. Four hundred twenty-three feet later, the ball landed over the left-field wall:

For all the grief I give Yankee pitchers when they don’t do this, I would be remiss if I didn’t credit Brito. He came out for the bottom of the fifth and shut Oakland down. The shutdown inning gave an offense that finally got on the board another opportunity to score. It’s not his fault the bats, predictably, did absolutely nothing.

With the pitch count in good shape, Aaron Boone let Brito come back out for the sixth. He got the first two outs of the frame, but after a single brought Seth Brown back to the dish, Boone wasn’t giving the Oakland outfielder another chance to take Brito deep. Jhony B. Goode on this night: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 K, with the runner on base his responsibility. Nick Ramirez came in and escaped the frame, keeping it a one-run game.

Anthony Volpe notched his second hit of the contest in the seventh, his second knock of the game. That brought the old batting average back to .200, and was his third really good at-bat of the night. Unfortunately, he was then thrown out trying to steal second, his first caught stealing of the season.

Tony Kemp blocked the second base bag preventing Volpe from sliding in safely. As Jeff Nelson said on the YES broadcast, it might require guys sliding in cleats first to disabuse middle infielders of that particular parlor trick. Either way, Volpe was out and nearly automatic out Trevino was due to lead off the eighth, making a Gleyber Torres pinch-hit appearance seem rather likely.

New York turned to Tommy Kahnle for the bottom of the seventh, and Tommy Tightpants put on quite the performance, whiffing the first two Oakland hitters he faced then racing to first to field the 3-1 groundout for the final out. Gotta latch on to the little things when you’re losing to Oakland. It’s how you stay sane.

I was half-right. A pinch-hitter led off the eighth but it was Oswaldo Cabrera rather than Gleyber. And Oswaldo’s brutal 2023 continued apace as he struck out on three pitches. LeMahieu followed that with a four pitch walk though, putting the tying run on base and prompting Boone to send Isiah Kiner-Falefa to run for DJ, who’s not exactly fleet of foot.

After Harrison Bader just missed crushing a two-run home run, Rizzo walked for the second time on the night, moving IKF to scoring position for Stanton. But the shell of Giancarlo Stanton grounded weakly to third, stranding both runners. Stanton’s at-bats on the night: .010 xBA, K, .060 xBA, and .080 xBA. That about sums up the state of the offense.

Wandy Peralta came in for Kahnle after Ruiz singled in the ninth and retired Oakland without much effort. Once again, the Yankees had an opportunity. Score one to keep the game going. Score multiple runs and line up the win.

Gleyber did make his pinch-hit appearance. With a lefty in, Boone went to Torres for Bauers and Gleyber paid it off with a leadoff single. After Donaldson and McKinney went down, Volpe beat out an infield ground ball, his third hit of the night. Two ducks on the pond. That left it all up to Kyle Higashioka ... who went down on strikes. Game over.

All told, the New York offense mustered one measly run on seven hits against an all-time awful pitching staff. Eleven strikeouts. No hits with runners in scoring position. A collective .211 xBA. Pick whatever stat you want. There’s no sugarcoating how brutal this offense is.

This feels like a game that was begging to be won. But these fearless sluggers found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, even on the heels of an exciting series win over a much better team in Texas. The Yankees aren’t going to make up ground losing games to the A’s. They get another chance tomorrow night. Domingo Germán on the hill with first pitch from former teammate JP Sears at 9:40 EDT. Join us here for all the game coverage.

Box Score