A Historically Bad Week Ups the Ante for a Yankees Deal
By Lenn Robbins
Admit it: You didn’t think it could get any worse. But it did.
You didn’t think it would be historically bad. But it is.
You can’t imagine the Yankees blowing a double-digit games lead in the American League East but suddenly the 8.5-game advantage over the Tampa Rays and the 9-game bulge over the Red Sox doesn’t feel like the Pinstripers are playing with house money.
When we last wrote about the Yankees, we said they could possibly win the battle against the Twins – which they did – but would probably lose the playoff war if they didn’t get a quality starter before the July 31st trade deadline.
Since then we’ve seen the Yankees win the final game of the three-game set in Minneapolis, 10-7, despite starter J.A. Happ getting shelled for six earned runs and two home runs in just three and one-thirds inning of work.
They arrived in Boston where we haven’t seen flames like this since tea was burned. The Yankees 19-3 loss to the Red Sox was the most lopsided defeat in the 117-year history of the two teams.
The Sox tied a major league record with eight players driving in at least two runs.
The starting pitching fiasco sadly picked up where it left off Friday night. James Paxton somehow managed to strike out nine in four innings while allowing seven earned runs. If that didn’t scare you, consider this.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone thought Paxton had ‘electric’ stuff. The only person in North America who might agree with that is Mookie Betts, who hit three runs off of Paxton in a 10-5 Red Sox win.
The last quality start for the Yankees came more than a week ago when Happ allowed two runs in five innings. In other words, the Yankees would be eliminated from the playoffs if they have another week like this in October.
The Yankees have given up 64 runs over the last six games, an infamous record for the franchise. Historic.
The starters – Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, CC Sabathia, Domingo German and J.A. Happ – have posted a 15.61 ERA in 27²/₃ innings, surrendering 54 hits and issuing 13 walks.
General manager Brian Cashman told reporters before his big off-season acquisition, Paxton, gave a up four home runs in four innings Saturday night that he would not be forced into a bad trade.
Fair enough but one can only hope some of it is trade-week bluster. Cashman knows he’s working in a city that demands championships more than it appreciates prudence.
Unfortunately for Cashman and the Yankees, actions speak louder than words. This pitching bloodletting has forced the Yankees to go a roster comprised of 14 pitchers and two bench players – Austin Romine and Gio Urshela.
With Gary Sanchez (groin) on the injured list for the foreseeable future, Romine must stay healthy. The teams in sell mode that have quality know this. They can press for a better package and the Yankees probably will have to give more than then they might have a week ago.
Not a bad trade but a necessary one.
“It’s obviously been a rough week for us,’’ Boone told reporters after the most recent loss. “All we can do is dive in and do the best we can and try to tighten things up and get things corrected.’’
A rough week: You never thought the Yankees pitching could have a week this tough.
ANOTHER RING DEATH – Argentine boxer Hugo Alfredo “Dinamita” Santillan, 23, became the second boxer in a week to die from injuries suffered in the ring. Santillan fought to a 10-round draw Thursday night with Uruguayan fighter Eduardo Javier Abreu.
Santillan started bleeding from the nose in the fourth round. After the decision was announced his legs gave out. He suffered three heart attacks before he died of a blood clot in the brain.
Russian boxer Maxim Dadashev, 28, died Tuesday. He too suffered brain damage during his Friday night fight against Subriel Matias of Puerto Rico. Have to ask if boxers are getting appropriate care during fights.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Giants quarterback Eli Manning responding to a GQ article in which former receiver Odell Beckham Jr. claimed he was the marquee draw that kept securing prime time television slots for Big Blue.
“I won a few games before he was here,’’ said Manning, the understated assassin.