CHICAGO — You don’t pitch, you don’t win.
That’s been a baseball commandment ever since Mike Francesa invented the game.
If you dissect the June swoon the Yankees were in when they faced the White Sox on Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field (how bad of a name is that for a ballpark?), there is certainly a case to be made that the starting rotation is the biggest reason for the reeling visitors having lost 8 of 11 and the AL East lead to the Rays.
After the White Sox were done pummeling cutter-less CC Sabathia in Friday night’s 10-2 beat down, the rotation numbers looked like something from a last-place club instead of one that started Saturday’s action a half-length out of first.
In the past six starts (not counting Chad Green’s two-inning stint as the opener last Sunday in Cleveland), Yankees starters had been atrocious heading into another bullpen day Saturday, when Green took the mound for his fifth “start.’’
They were 1-4 with a 7.84 ERA and had given up 42 hits (10 home runs) in 31 innings.
Yankees look old and busted, and it has to stop
CHICAGO — The Yankees looked old and tired Friday night….
Since the biggest question entering the season was the rotation and the area GM Brian Cashman will undoubtedly address prior to the July 31 trade deadline, it isn’t a shock. Especially since former staff ace Luis Severino hasn’t thrown a pitch yet and nine-game winner Domingo German joined Severino on the injured list last week.
Yet, the problems run deeper than the rotation.
Aaron Hicks has 86 at-bats since coming off the injured list on May 15 and lugged a .209 (18-for-86) average into Saturday night’s game. He had four homers and 16 RBIs with a .649 OPS. The switch-hitting center fielder appeared on the uptick when he went 3-for-9 with two homers and four RBIs in two games (June 6-7), but in the five games since Hicks batted .105 (2-for-19).
Fellow outfielder Brett Gardner hit .162 (6-for-27) with a .184 on-base percentage in the previous 10 games, three of which he homered in. Gio Urshela, a career .225 hitter entering the season, was bound to cool off, and he has. In the past dozen games, Urshela has hit .179 (7-for-39) with a .603 OPS.
Then there are the 33 errors in the past 37 games — with Urshela, who showed Gold Glove ability at third earlier, leading the team with 10 miscues. Add too many plays that weren’t made but should have been. They aren’t logged as errors but hurt just as much.
“Obviously, it’s been a tough stretch for us, the last 10 days or whatever it’s been, but it’s been a little bit of everything,’’ manager Aaron Boone said following Friday night’s loss. “Some nights it has been pitching, some nights we haven’t been able to mount enough offensively. A couple of games we haven’t played clean defensively. Just got to be better overall and do it as a group. It is inevitable you are going to hit a [rough] patch. We have to play better, no question about it.’’
Getting Giancarlo Stanton back from the IL, possibly Tuesday, should help. Aaron Judge started a minor league rehab stint with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, and there is a chance he will return on the upcoming home stand.
Again, the rotation hasn’t been good, but more support defensively — the Yankees’ 55 errors were tied for second with the White Sox among 30 MLB teams going into Saturday’s action — and from the lineup would soften the blow a bit.
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