Yankees: Good news and bad news from 2-1 loss to the Nationals

MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Yankees
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have done something for the first time since 1982, and that’s lost nine straight games in a row. This is certainly not the position that General Manager Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees imagined they’d be in, but today was also important because it was the MLB debut of Everson Pereira. Carlos Rodon would toe the slab in the first game of this three-game set against the Washington Nationals, and the Yankees would be tasked with facing Washington’s lone All-Star representative in Josiah Gray.

Good News: Carlos Rodon Gets a Confidence Booster, Team Defense Shines

mlb: houston astros at new york yankees, carlos rodon
Aug 6, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) reacts after allowing a two-run home run to Houston Astros left fielder Yordan Alvarez (not pictured) during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees activated Carlos Rodon off of the 15-Day IL before tonight’s game and he made his return to the mound, delivering six innings of one-run baseball, although it came with just one strikeout. Rodon didn’t have his swing-and-miss stuff in his return, and while that’s certainly concerning, there were still plenty of positives along the way. Rodon didn’t walk a single batter and his velocity was in-line with not just this season but years past as well.

Signed to a six-year $162 million deal in the offseason, the Yankees hoped for greater returns in year one than what they’ve seen thus far, but this is an encouraging step in the right direction for the former All-Star. Serving as a confidence boost for the left-hander, he still needed a lot of help to work around the six hits allowed, and that came through some stellar team defense by the Yankees.

The Yankees got an outfield assist from each member of their outfield, including Everson Pereira, Harrison Bader, and Aaron Judge. Gleyber Torres even made a great snare, and they were able to help the struggling Rodon get through a much-needed six-inning performance. By being efficient, staying in the strike zone, and trusting his defense, Rodon was able to give the Yankees a great outing, but his offense would, unfortunately, waste it.

Bad News: The Yankees’ Offense Didn’t Do Enough, Again

mlb: boston red sox at new york yankees, giancarlo stanton
Aug 18, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) stays on the field after an inning-ending double play in the sixth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees fail to score enough runs to compete in this game despite their pitching holding their end of the deal, a story that defines the 2023 season for them. While Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza joined the lineup, both failed to get a hit although Pereira worked a walk, and the rest of the lineup couldn’t get much going. Despite Josiah Gray walking five batters across six innings, every single Yankee in the lineup failed to record a hit, except their nine hitter.

Ben Rortvedt got their only two hits, worked a walk, and also drove in their only run with his second HR of the season. It’s mind-boggling performances such as these that perplex the Yankees, as names that you expect to get the job done such as Giancarlo Stanton continue to scuffle mightily. While they did have a .324 Expected Batting Average, it was not enough to get anything to find grass in the process.

They’ll turn to the struggling Luis Severino tomorrow night, as they look to avoid another series loss in what’s been a brutal stretch for the Bronx Bombers that continues to get worse.

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