Sports

Alarming Yankees must wake up for teams ‘they hate’ most

Repeat after Aaron Boone: We will hit. We will slug. We trust our guys. They have a track record.

About all we haven’t heard from Boone yet is: The Bambino struck out plenty. Joe DiMaggio didn’t get a hit in that 57th consecutive game. The Mick struck out plenty, from both sides of the plate. Jeet went 0-for-32 once.

Memo to Boone and Yankees:

Wake up for Rivalry Week or else.

Four games at the Stadium beginning on Memorial Day afternoon against the hated first-place Rays. Who beat the Yanks in the 2020 ALDS. Who are 6-3, and 3-0 this season at the Stadium against them.

“They hate us,” Rays reliever Ryan Thompson said on Sunday, “and so it’s easy for us to get more excited to play those guys. … They can talk all the talk they want, they can throw at our guys, we’re going to beat them, and in the past two years, we’ve definitely done that.”

Then three games against the hated Red Sox for the first time this season.

It is not the moment of truth.

But it sure is A moment of truth.

“As pissed off as I am,” Boone said after Tigers 6, Yankees 2, “and as we should be by the way we played, it’s a bad weekend. We need to turn the page, we have an important homestand coming up against some really good opponents.”

Things have unraveled so alarmingly that Boone had been asked whether his team can be good enough to turn it around.

“And yes, we are absolutely good enough,” he said, “and we need to figure it out, find a way to play cleaner baseball more consistently, because we’re about to go up against some really good teams. But as frustrated as I am, I’m not gonna let a bad weekend cloud what I know this team’s capable of.”

These third-place Yankees — closer to the fourth-place Blue Jays than the Rays — looked much more like the last-place 1966 Johnny Keane-Ralph Houk Yankees than the 1998 Yankees getting swept in Detroit by the Tigers while scoring five runs in the three games.

Clint Frazier during the Yankees' loss today.
Clint Frazier during the Yankees’ loss today.
AP

And bats out of hell are bad enough: but 0-20 with RISP until a Gleyber Torres RBI single to right in the eighth … inexcusable baserunning from Gary Sanchez getting caught between first and second to end the eighth … and three errors in the third inning, two by Torres, who pitched a fit in the dugout after the score ballooned to 6-0, when they looked more like the 1962 Casey Stengel Mets:

Top of ninth: bases loaded, two outs: Judge versus Michael Fulmer. And Judge looks at a pedestrian slider for strike three.

“You gotta step up in those situations,” Judge said.

Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game? They return home playing like Stankees.

What was so troubling on this day was the absence of urgency in every phase of the game.

“What gives me solace,” Boone said, “is the teams and the players and the individuals in that room — and here he points behind him from the Zoom room — what I’ve seen ’em do over the last few years over the course of their career, so I know what we’re capable of.”

At which point he said something that he better tell his team, if he hadn’t already after the game.

“That said, it’s not just throwing your glove out there expecting it to happen. You’ve gotta go out and make it happen,” Boone said.

First inning: runners on first and second, nobody out, Judge grounds sharply into a 5-4-3 double play. That made 51 this season for Yankees batters.

Third inning: Giancarlo Stanton waves at a pitch in the dirt. After striking out four times on Friday night in his return from the IL. Then he struck out again in the sixth inning.

They made southpaw Tarik Skubal (2-7) look like Mickey Lolich, for crying out loud.

There are 109 games remaining, so it is too early for the manager to panic, of course.

It is never too early for Yankees fans, who right about now would pay for the limo to Scranton-Wilkes Barre to pick up slugging Chris Gittens and get him to The Bronx, and sooner rather than later.

If the Yankees, toiling for a few weeks without Luke Voit, deem him ready, why not bring him up?

“What we’re putting out there right now is not our best,” Judge said, “and it’s just unacceptable.”

It feels like an eternity ago — the Corey Kluber no-hitter, the triple play, the sweep of the White Sox that gave the Yankees a six-game winning streak.

There are ebbs and flows to the MLB season. This is what you would call an ebb.

When the Rays beat the Indians on Sunday, it was their 15th win in 16 games. This is what you would call a flow.

“Just a tremendous mindset going right now,” Rays manager Kevin Cash had said on Saturday. “The amount of wins that we’ve kind of racked up here of late certainly helps that. They are feeding all each other.”

The Yankees? They are starving. At the worst possible time.


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