Manager Aaron Boone continues to struggle in his attempts to explain the free fall the New York Yankees are experiencing in the second half of the season.
But he hopes New York’s 9-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field was a wake-up call.
“That’s an embarrassing loss,” said the usually soft-spoken Boone. “Hopefully, one of those rock-bottom situations where you should be pissed off and embarrassed. We’ve set a better standard here. We just have to be better. Period.”
The Yankees’ 9-0 defeat was their biggest blowout loss this season. That nine-run margin of defeat marked their biggest loss since October 2, 2021, right against Tampa Bay (12-2). Three of the Yankees’ last four losses by nine runs or more have come against the Rays.
“It’s just embarrassing when you get beat like that and you go through the struggles that you are,” Boone added. “I am responsible for this team. What we are going through now, I know better than anyone, there will be difficult moments and difficult times. I do think that the effort is there, I think that the concern is there. But we set a much better standard in that room we have to start living up to.”
The Yankees’ lead in the AL East, which was as high as 15½ games on July 8, is now down to just five games. The last time the Yankees’ division lead was down to five games or less was at the end of a game on June 1.
But an All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge emphasized that the slim advantage they currently hold on the AL East cannot be a focus.
“I don’t pay attention to it. That’s the worst thing you can do in anything is pressure or feel pressure,” Judge said. “We’re playing a kid’s game. This is a game we love, and we’ve got to go out there with enthusiasm every night and not really worry about the reputation. Because if we show up and do what we do — have good at-bats, command the stuff , who we need on the mound – we’re going to look up at the end of the year and be where we want to be in the standings. We can’t sit here and try to push. . I don’t think anybody in this room is trying to push or look at stuff like that. We’ve got a lot on our plate.”
Judge was actually one of the few highlights at the plate for the Yankees. After finishing with the best record in MLB at the All-Star break, the Yankees are 15-25 since, and have now lost five of their last six games. And many of those results came on the heels of an offensive power outage.
The Yankees have scored 3 runs or less six times in their last 7 games, 2 runs or less four times and 1 run or less twice; the club is batting .105 (4-for-38) with runners in scoring position over that stretch. Friday night’s loss was the Yankees’ 12th shutout this season; they’ve been shutout an MLB-high six times since the start of August. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, the Yankees’ 9-19 (.321) record since August 2 is the worst in the AL.
But Judge said he still believes the Yankees have all the tools they need in their clubhouse to try to overcome their extended two-half slump.
“These guys have done it. We’ve done it all year, especially to stay in first place in this tough division that we’re in. We’ve got everything we need right here in this room. Nobody outside is going to help. us, no one feels sorry for us,” said Judge. “No one likes to lose. We’ll see what this team is made of. No team has ever gone into the postseason and expected to go there and win every day.
“We have to bring it every day. So today is over and we have to bring it tomorrow. It’s plain and simple. That’s what it really means — angry, not angry, you have to. bring it every day.”