The New York Yankees Are Good at Finding New Ways to Lose

Losers of three of four at Fenway Park, the Yankees (51-47) are the biggest disappointments in baseball this season

July 27, 2021 8:32 am
Manager Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees looks on from the dugout.
Manager Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees looks on from the dugout.
Bob Levey/Getty

Winners of four straight heading into a game at Fenway Park on Thursday night against the Red Sox, the New York Yankees were one out away from pushing that winning streak to five games and boosting their record to 51-44 on the season.

As has often been the case this year, that final out proved elusive for the Yankees, and the Red Sox were able to tie the game to send it to extra innings before winning it outright in the bottom of the 10th thanks to reliever Brooks Kriske, who has since been demoted to the minors, throwing a record-setting four wild pitches in two-thirds of an inning.

“Another gut-punch. An out away there,” New York manager Aaron Boone said following the loss. “It certainly stings on a long night here. But we also have to get over this. In this stretch of baseball where we’ve won a lot of games, we’ve had some incredibly tough losses like tonight.”

That was no exaggeration on Boone’s part. Kriske’s implosion caused the Yankees’ fourth ’21 loss during which they led by multiple runs in the ninth inning. Losers the following night as well, the Yankees showed some fight on Saturday and staged a four-run rally in the eighth inning to beat the Red Sox 4-3. Which brings us to the debacle that was Sunday.

Held without a hit into the eighth inning by starter Domingo Germán, the Red Sox were able to take advantage of yet another late-game collapse by New York and scored five runs to beat the Yankees 5-4. Sunday’s contest sums up how the surprisingly well the year has gone for the Red Sox and how shockingly poor it has gone for the Yanks. “You are on top of the world, all of a sudden you are free falling. You fall fast,” German said after the loss. “It’s hard to process what happened. How did it happen? It’s hard to even analyze anything that goes on that quickly.”

Difficult, yes. But the Yankees have seen so many collapses this season that analyzing them is getting easier.

For Boston, it was their league-leading 32nd come-from-behind victory. For New York, it was just more of the same in a season that, barring a huge turnaround, should cost Boone his job and may end up paving the way for general manager Brian Cashman to be relieved of his duties as well.

Losers of 10 of 13 games against the Red Sox this season and now nine games behind first-place Boston in the AL East, the Yankees have been the biggest disappointment in the majors this year during a campaign many predicted would end with New York playing for, and winning, the World Series.

It does not appear that will happen as, due to a combination of spotty pitching, lackluster hitting and missed games due to injury and COVID-19, the Yankees have made losing games they should win their calling card this season. Now 51-47 on the season with 64 games left to play, the Yankees are hanging on by a thread and cannot afford to keep losing winnable games if they are going to have a sniff of making the postseason for the fifth straight season. Should they fail to do so, the Yankees, who are second in all of baseball with a payroll of $136,570,680, will have no one to blame but themselves.

With the trade deadline approaching on Friday, the Yankees may end up being sellers instead of buyers as Cashman looks to retool a team that looks good on paper but has ended up being a paper tiger with Boone, who went straight from the ESPN booth to the dugout with no previous managerial experience, at the helm.

“Boone has always prided himself on consistency in the dugout,” Bob Klapisch wrote for or NJ Advance Media on Monday. “It’s true, he hasn’t changed since back-to-back 100-win seasons in 2018-19. It’s the Yankees who are different. They’re no longer the rising rock stars led by their young, relatable manager. Today they’re a weary group that’s fallen on hard times. Boone hasn’t adjusted to the less forgiving environment. He hasn’t shifted gears — or can’t. And maybe that’s the real epiphany, that after four years Boone has run out of ways to save the Bombers.”

The only way the Bombers can save him at this point is by finding a way to win. So far this season, they’ve been far better at finding ways to lose. If that doesn’t change, Boone will be gone.

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