After winning two of three games against the Houston Astros, the New York Yankees entertained the Washington Nationals in game one of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium in that Bronx last night. This was a much weakened Nationals team that won the World Series in 2019. They had just come off a three-game sweep by the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees lost the ugly game 11-4.
Taillon vs. Corbin
Both Jameson Taillon and the Nationals’ Patrick Corbin pitched pretty good games. Corbin went 6 innings, giving up 3 earned runs, and Taillon when 6.1 innings giving up 3 earned runs. The cause of the Yankee trampling was for the second night in a row; the Yankees bullpen fell apart.
What is so unusual about this is that up to the third game of the Astros series, the Yankee bullpen had the lowest ERA in baseball. Where that stands, presently, I am not sure. In the 3rd game of the Astros series, one of the most dependable Yankees relievers, Chad Green, gave up 3 earned runs in 1/3 of an inning, Justin Wilson gave up 2 earned runs. Last night another of the Yankees’ best relievers, Jonathan Loaisiga, entered the game with an ERA of 0.98 and gave up 5 runs in 1/3 of an inning. Luis Cessa gave up 3 runs.
LeMahieu, Sanchez, Stanton and Andujar
CBS News, this morning, had a story on the “Season of the slump.” The story basically discussed how pitchers are getting better, and hitters are paying for it. Some of the Yankee hitters have been in prolonged slumps, but they are not unique; it’s all over baseball this year. Why is not clear, but better pitching is part of the reason. There have been four no-hitters already in the first five weeks of the season. April 9, Joe Musgrove (Padres), April 14, Carlos Rodon (White Sox), May 5, John Means (Orioles), and yesterday, Wade Miley (Reds).
The New York Yankees have spent far too long at .500 or below, a stat; they have not suffered since 1991. Although some of that fault may lie at the feet of the pitching staff, most of it is because the Yankee hitters aren’t hitting. Last night the Yankees put together a lineup that had four hitters hitting at .202 or less. And on the bench were two more players on the interstate (.115 and .169). That results in low-scoring games and ultimately in losing games.
Miguel Andujar was added to the staff last night. He went 0 for 4. Giancarlo Stanton had his 12 game hitting streak broken, although he has been the Yankees’ best hitter this season, with the most hits, most home runs, and most RBI’s. DJ LeMahieu, while hardly in a slump by most standards, his batting average is almost 100 points less than his batting average in 2020 when he was the batting champ. It’s encouraging to see his two home runs last night and seeing him go 3 for 4 after going 0-5 the previous night.
Gary Sanchez, who has been in a season-long slump, hit his first home run since the first two season games. Sanchez is hitting .182. After just one home run in his last 30 games, manager Aaron Boone is already singing the praises of the failed catcher.
“There’s a lot of underlying things that suggest he’s ready to really bust out,” Boone said Friday, before Sanchez was one of a few bright spots in an ugly 11-4 loss to the Nationals at Yankee Stadium.
Yankee errors helped the Nationals
In his longest outing of the season, Jameson Taillon got cheated out of a possible win when the bullpen and Yankee errors may have robbed him of a win. The eighth inning last night was a mess for the Yankees. It all started with Torres, whose defense has recently improved. Hernandez hit a liner to him that he didn’t catch. The usually perfect Aaron Judge bobbled a ball in right for an error that allowed Hernandez to get to second. Following that, Robles reached when DJ LeMahieu threw wide to first. That put runners on the corners with no outs, and Trea Turner’s single up the middle gave the Nationals the lead. Then the bullpen collapsed, allowing eight additional runs putting the New York Yankees out of the 11-4 game.
“It’s not good timing for those errors to happen,’’ LeMahieu said. “It was just one of those innings. We didn’t help our pitchers out there.”