In what’s been a very stupid season for the Yankees, August was arguably the stupidest month yet. The Yankees mightily struggled over the course of it, going on a long losing streak during August. That dragged them under .500 and likely out of playoff contention after ending July in an at least tenable position.
Now that the Yankees’ dreadful August 2023 is over, let’s look back and the weirdest and dumbest moments for them from the month.
There’s going to be plenty of down notes to come in this piece, but here’s actually a decent one to start things.
Last year, Cristian Javier started two games at Yankee Stadium. In the first, he threw the first seven innings of the Astros’ combined no-hitter. In the second, he allowed just one hit as he mowed through the Yankees’ lineup in Game 3 of the ALCS, which all but assured that the Yankees’ season was over.
This time around, the Yankees scored three runs on two home runs off Javier in the very first inning, ensuring they wouldn’t be owned by him a third time.
Luis Severino’s struggles this season have been well noted, and he’s been especially bad in the first innings of games. So in this one, the Yankees came up with an idea: use an opener for him. They sent out Ian Hamilton to start this game, and he cleared through the top of the White Sox lineup, giving Severino a theoretically easier task for his first inning of work.
Turns out, the issues may be Severino’s first inning instead of just the first inning in general, as Chicago proceeded to put up three runs in the second inning. That included the sub-.600 OPS-hitting Oscar Colás taking him deep.
For the entirety of August, the Yankees were absolutely hopeless at winning series. No where was that more evident than this particular contest.
This game was a fairly decent performance from the Yankees’ offense, as they put up seven runs with Anthony Volpe and Ben Rortvedt — which was a bit weird on its own — chipping in with home runs. They took a 7-3 lead to the ninth where they sent in Clay Holmes to try and finish things off.
Holmes — and the bullpen in general — has mostly been pretty good this season, but he completely melted down on this day. His inning went double, strikeout, single, walk, E1 (and an ugly one at that), and triple, as the Marlins came all the way back to tie the game. Tommy Kanhle came in after that, he Miami ended up getting a walk-off single off him. The Yankees lost the game after going into the inning with a 98-percent win expectancy.
That blowup loss to Miami ended up being the second of what would be a nine-game losing streak for the Yankees. After winning on August 11th, the Yankees didn’t record another victory until the 23rd. The nine-straight defeats were the franchise’s longest losing streak since 1982. There have only been three streaks worse, and all are from over 100 years ago, prior to the franchise’s first World Series title.
The Yankees came back from 1-0, 2-1, and 5-2 deficits to tie the game every time. Holmes again struggled in the ninth, leaving the Yankees down a run going into the bottom of the inning. After then putting the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth on, the heart of the Yankees’ lineup went down in order. This was the game where it truly started to feel like the Yankees may never win again.
On this day, the Yankees got two-hit by the Nationals. Both hits came by Rortvedt, who just a couple months ago, when he still had yet to debut for the Yankees, had been subject of jokes about whether or not he even existed.
All it took for the Yankees to finally break the losing streak was a three-home run game by Aaron Judge. That’s all.
Once again, the Yankees lost a series thanks to a bullpen meltdown. This time, they allowed a four-run inning in the seventh, including a go-ahead home run by Alex Call, of a barely .600 OPS fame.
The Yankees recorded just two hits in a shutout loss to the Rays. It was the fourth time in August that they had put up two or fewer hits. The overall franchise record for those type of games in an entire season is eight in 1915. So, yeah.
Not only did the bullpen blow a lead, but there were multiple bench clearing incidents in one inning. Fun!
The perfect way to wrap up a very stupid month. The offense was held in check for eighth innings, only for Anthony Volpe to tie the game basically out of nowhere with a ninth inning three-run home run. However, then in the bottom half of the inning...