Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Maybe the pomp of the first series with the Red Sox this season is just the tonic the lackluster Yankees need in what's been a blah start to their season.
Nothing like a visit from a bitter rival to jolt a club. And make no mistake: The Yankees need a jolt. Badly.
Sure, it seems like everyone in pinstripes is hurt. But the Yanks have enough left that they should be better than 6-9, especially considering the teams they've been facing. After falling to the White Sox 5-2 on Sunday, they have lost five of their last six games, and even GM Brian Cashman noted last week how there's been plenty of poor play from the Yankees who are still standing.
If the Yankees don't get it together soon -- Tuesday's opener against Boston would be ideal -- the narrative of the early part of their season is going to shift in an uncomfortable direction. It won't be about treading water while their stars heal; it'll morph into wondering whether the first two-plus weeks show problems that go deeper than the injured list.
The Yankees lost the series to the White Sox, meaning they have dropped their first three home series of the season for the first time since 1982, according to YES Network. That those series losses came against the Orioles, Tigers and White Sox should make it all the more frustrating.
Last season, the Yankees were 53-28 (.654) at Yankee Stadium, the second-best home record in baseball. So far, they are 3-6 at home.
"Just not playing our best yet, period," Aaron Boone told reporters during his postgame press conference, when asked about the team's problems at home. "Take a bigger snapshot over time, I don't think it has to do with home."
Still, the manager believes his team is "in a sound place as far as our focus, energy, our expectation when we walk through those doors. Obviously dealing with adversity now, which is part of a big-league season, you have to grind through that.
"Hopefully, we can get it starting to roll when we come here on Tuesday."
It certainly didn't happen on Sunday, when they blew a 2-0 lead and squandered all of the good feelings they felt Saturday from CC Sabathia's strong season debut and a burst of effective small ball.
Sunday, Masahiro Tanaka struggled after three good innings, the offense disappeared -- the Yanks were 1-for-their-last-21 -- and the White Sox ran wild on the bases.
Chicago stole five bags, the most the Yankees allowed in a game since giving up five to the Rays on July 3, 2012. Even Jose Abreu, not exactly a burner, swiped two. He entered the game with only eight in his career.
The Red Sox aren't playing well, either, in their defense of their World Series championship. They bring a 6-10 record into the two-game series, and their pitching has been mostly abysmal. For that reason, too, maybe this is the perfect time to get them in the Stadium.
The Yankees have an off-day Monday while Boston plays Baltimore at Fenway Park. Tuesday in the Bronx, the Sox will send Chris Sale to the mound against James Paxton in a matchup of listing lefties who are carrying enormous expectations. Sale is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA, while Paxton, brought in to give the Yanks a rotation weapon for October, is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA.
Sunday, Paxton told reporters at Yankee Stadium that he had been tipping pitches in his recent loss to the Astros. Paxton allowed eight hits and five runs in four innings.
J.A. Happ (0-2, 8.76 ERA) faces former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi (0-0, 8.40 ERA) in the second game of the series on Wednesday.
Boone says he's been watching the Sox. Despite their poor start, he does not doubt them.
"Obviously, I follow the scores a little bit," Boone said. "I've seen bits and pieces. Know what they're capable of. Anytime we get together with them, you know (there will be) tough battles.
"Both teams before long will probably be rolling pretty well."
With the way things have gone so far, the Yanks better hope they're the club that starts rolling this week.