By Lenn Robbins
By the time the Yankees, serenaded by boo birds as they jogged off the Yankee Stadium field after the top of the fifth inning, trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by eight runs and having committed three times as many errors as their one hit, the only question remaining was this:
Are the Yankees, 8-2 losers and now owners of a dreadful 5-8 record, a bad team or a good team playing very bad baseball?
#26 1st baseman DJ Le Mahieuu cant make a play on an E4 by #18 Rougned Odor leading to 2 runs
Manager Aaron Boone said all the right things before Friday night’s game about his team’s ability to put the previous game in the rearview and focus on the next challenge. It’s a narrative we have heard more than any Yankees fan ever expected in last season’s 60-game disappointment and so far, this season.
These are, of course, the Yankees. Boone has acknowledged, again on too many occasions, that there is an expectation in The Bronx that is unique. This is the franchise in desperate search of a 28th World Series. Desperate because the last title came in 2009 and that’s an ice age ago.
The Yankees were coming off consecutive losses to the Toronto Blue Jays and now have their second, three-game losing streak of the season. They do not have a three-game win streak.
“We’ve got to pick it up,” Giancarlo Stanton said. “We can’t keep rolling this same look out there.”
It’s an ugly look, one the regal pinstripe uniform and facial hair ban can cover.
Boone spoke to the team after this eyesore. We’re not suggesting a managerial change is coming, nor should it, but this is the uninspired, sloppy baseball that often costs a manager his job.
“Obviously him addressing us means that we need to play better,” Clint Frazier said of Boone. “I think everyone took the thought of, ‘We have to come to the ballpark tomorrow ready to go, because the team we’re playing will come ready to go.’ ”
By the bottom of the eighth, Yankees fans embarrassed themselves by throwing baseballs onto the field. It’s no excuse but Yankees fans have been subjected to some pretty embarrassing baseball, especially Friday night.
The Yankees were in a 2-0 hole before you could say, “Jackie Robinson,” who was honored by the club. Every player on both teams wore the legendary No. 42. Boone opted to give Nick Nelson the start. He gave up two earned runs, walked two and struck out two in one inning of work.
A 2-0 deficit isn’t supposed to be an insurmountable deficit for a team with the firepower of the Yankees. Until Stanton crushed a two-run home run in the seventh, the Yankees were without an extra-base hit.
They finished the night having been outhit, 11-3, outscored, outpitched as Michael Wacha threw six innings of one-hit, shutout ball, striking out nine with two walks, and outplayed on other side of the line as Tampa Bay didn’t commit an error.
Right now, Yankees baseball is an error.