I gotta start this off by saluting my fellow staff members because these games are getting awful hard to cover. I’m not looking for sympathy or anything from readers, just acknowledging how much my coworkers do trying to come up with thoughtful and interesting things to say about a baseball team that’s frankly not that interesting.
The good news of the day is the Yankees were not no hit. Aaron Judge took starter Kutter Crawford deep into the left center bullpen for the first Yankee hit of the game...in the sixth inning. The club managed just one other hit, a Greg Allen single, in yet another dreary, downright boring loss, the 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Boston Red Sox their seventh in a row.
Gerrit Cole had probably his worst start of the season, going just four innings and getting slapped around by the eighth and ninth hitters in the Red Sox lineups. He struggled with fastball command all day, never quite able to find the outside edge of the zone against righties. That meant a series of easy takes away for Sox hitters, or Cole’s pitches had to come back toward the middle of the plate, where bad things happened.
He also seemed just...off, in his relationship with batterymate Ben Rortvedt. The two have had a rather tense time together since Benny came up, and it’s hard to tell from the outside how much Cole is coaching or mentoring the young catcher and how much is frustration with the team’s general performance. Still, he seems to shake off Rortvedt more than either Jose Trevino or Kyle Higashioka, and that continued today.
Disconnect with your catcher shouldn’t lead to a loss of command over your primary pitch, so whatever issues Cole seems to be having with Rortvedt aren’t an excuse for his outing. I do wonder, as I did when Gary Sánchez was here, whether Cole’s particular approach to gameplanning and his unique personality might make it a priority for the Yankees to more or less designate a personal catcher who serves mainly to work with the ace.
Luis Urías, who I would never have guessed played for Boston, Pablo Reyes and Rafael Devers all went deep for the Red Sox, with the first two being a grand slam and two-run job respectively. Urías’ shot in the second inning seemed to take the Yankees out of the game before they were ever in it — Michael Kay and others have reported about just how thrown off the Yankees get when they fall behind, as though they’re incapable of adjusting to a deviation from their gameplan.
Not to turn a simple game recap into a screed about the state of the whole org but how can a team be so flustered by falling behind? They don’t even get their teeth kicked in all the time — the other night they lost 2-0, they dropped a game 3-1 in the Marlins series. Even 4-0 in the second inning isn’t the end of the game, you get eight more chances to hit, and you’re already scrambling with your gameplan?
This is a really tough month of baseball and despite whatever Aaron Boone will say in the postgame, there really aren’t any signs this will turn around. The best the Yankees can hope for is that Clarke Schmidt can lead them to salvaging one game in this godforsaken series and ending the losing streak. First pitch of the finale comes at 1:35pm Eastern.