It’s been 41 years since the Yankees have lost like this, and if Luis Severino can’t save them Wednesday, this streak of futility will match one that's nearly 80 years old.
Carlos Rodon was serviceable in his return from the 15-day injured list, but the Yankees' feeble offense managed almost nothing against the Nationals, losing 2-1 for their ninth loss in a row – their longest losing streak since 1982. They haven’t had a lead in 61 innings, are five games under .500, and a loss on Wednesday would be their longest losing streak since 1945.
The deciding blow came in the eighth, when CJ Abrams drove Tommy Kahnle’s first-pitch changeup off the second deck in right to break a tie at 1. Meanwhile, both of the Yankees’ hits came from Ben Rortvedt, who entered the day batting .095.
“You’ve got to fight that feeling” of hopelessness,” Aaron Boone said. “Get your [butt] back here tomorrow and compete. It’s no fun walking into that locker room getting beat every night.”
The loss, which came against the second-worst pitching staff in the National League, negated the Nationals' baserunning, which killed potential rallies in both the fourth and fifth. It also prompted a “Fire Cashman” chant in the ninth inning, referring to the Yankees general manager.
Rodon, pitching for the first time since Aug. 6 due to a left hamstring strain, allowed just one run on six hits with no walks and one strikeout over six innings and just 68 pitches, and benefitted from the Nationals making three outs on the basepaths over the fourth and fifth.
“It’s definitely unsettling,” Rodon said of the losing streak. “It’s not where we want to be…The guys in this room are the guys we got and we have a job to do.”
The Nationals' only run against Rodon came in the third, when No. 9 hitter Carter Keiboom golfed a solo home run to left. Rortvedt, though, answered in the bottom of the inning — hitting his second homer of the year to tie the game.
In the fourth, Keibert Ruiz was thrown out by Aaron Judge trying to stretch a single into a double and then, with a runner on first and two outs, Ildemaro Vargas hit a long single to left; Everson Pereira got the throw in quickly to short, and Anthony Volpe gunned down Vargas at second in a heads-up play.
The Nationals made their third out on the basepaths in the fifth, when Alex Call led off with a single that was trapped by a diving Harrison Bader. Call stutter-stepped and then broke for second, giving Bader just enough time to get the ball in for the tag.
Rodon, who didn’t pitch until July 7 due to a left forearm strain and a subsequent back injury, made just six starts before landing on the IL again — an inauspicious start to his Yankees tenure that saw him go 1-4 with a 7.33 ERA before this latest effort.
Rizzo progressing. Anthony Rizzo (post-concussion syndrome) was in the outfield doing agility drills Tuesday, and is ramping up baseball activities, Boone said. He’ll be re-evaluated in seven to 10 days.
Personnel news. To make room for Pereira and Oswald Peraza, the Yankees designated outfielder Greg Allen for assignment and placed Billy McKinney on the 10-day IL with back spasms, retroactive to Aug. 21…The Yankees promoted outfielder Jasson Dominguez to Triple-A. The organization’s No. 2 prospect, No. 79 in baseball, went 3-for-6 with a run and three RBIs in the RailRiders' 14-1 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.