BOSTON — Well, that was terrible. Sunday night. The series against the Red Sox. This three-city trip.
The latter came to an ignominious — yet at the same time merciful and quick (2:15) — end Sunday night in a 3-0 loss to Boston.
The loss concluded a 2-7 trip for the Yankees (72-43), who have lost nine of their last 11, 20 of their last 31 and 27 of their last 50 but still have a 10-game lead over the second-place Blue Jays. They fell 2 1/2 games behind the Astros in the race for the American League's best record.
“Not our best road trip,’’ DJ LeMahieu said. “We’re all frustrated. I think all of us can pick it up a little bit. I think if each of us pick it up, collectively, I think we’re gonna be a much better team. We know how good a team we are. We just haven’t been playing like it.”
The Red Sox, who received a terrific outing from Michael Wacha in his first start since coming off the injured list and a two-run homer by Yankees-killer Rafael Devers, earned their first series win against an AL East foe.
The Yankees were outhit 6-2, struck out 11 times and had only three baserunners, only one of whom got as far as second base. Their first 14 and final 11 batters were retired. Andrew Benintendi and Aaron Judge, the first two batters in the lineup, struck out three times each. Tommy Pham and Devers, the first two hitters in the Red Sox lineup, totaled five hits, including Devers’ 25th homer.
The Yankees have scored eight runs in 50 innings in their last five games and have been shut out three times.
As if that’s not bad enough, Aaron Boone said after the game that LeMahieu was not available because of a “foot/toe” issue that he dealt with earlier this season and “crept” back up on him at the start of this series. “We’ll see,’’ Boone said. “Hopefully tomorrow [he’ll play], but we’ll see what we’ve got when we get back.”
Said LeMahieu, “My [right] big toe, just in the last four or five days, it’s kind of affected me. But really, I don’t anticipate this being an issue going forward. So I’ll probably be back in there tomorrow.
“Just kind of the bumps and bruises of the season. Kind of wear and tear. I had a cortisone [shot] earlier in the year [at the All-Star break]; felt great for a while. And I feel like it’s just kind of creeping back up a little bit. But like I said, everyone’s got something right now. So just making sure I’m ready to go the rest of the season.”
Said Judge, “He’s been one of our best hitters; he gets everything started for us there at the top of the order. Hopefully it’s something minor and we get him back out there soon. We still have a lot of guys coming back, Giancarlo [Stanton]’s coming back and [that] will be good for us. But these guys are going to step up. We still have a good ballclub here capable of going out there and winning every single game. So we just have to pick each other up and move on.”
Jameson Taillon allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings.
Wacha allowed two hits and struck out nine in seven innings.
“You’ve got to tip your cap on a lot of those at-bats,’’ Judge said. “He really worked the edges well with all his pitches, kind of left a lot of pitches [away] from the heart of the plate. He was working all his pitches, stayed on the edges and we couldn’t really get anything going against him.”
He added, “We’re in first place. If you would have asked me at the start of the year would we like a 10-game lead in the middle of August, I think we’d sign up for that. But like I said, there’s little things we need to improve on. Going back on this whole road trip — different things on the basepaths, executing when we have guys in scoring position, picking each other up. Our outlook is we have to pick it up and it starts tomorrow.”
Said Taillon, “We have the personnel to do it. I think it helps too that we have a lot of veterans in here, guys who have done it for a long time, so it doesn’t seem like there’s too much panic or anything.”