By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com. Photos by Neil Miller
After his team was swept in Boston over the weekend, Yankees manager Aaron Boone stated his team’s season was on the line.
Following his team’s 5-3 loss to the Angels Monday night at the Stadium, his prophesy took on a deeper meaning, notably with his team’s glaring weaknesses surfacing again.
Unfortunately, the script was the same – decent to good pitching and a listless to below average offense, and failing to score runners in scoring position.
Their floundering around mediocrity (40-38) continued in the first of what should be a crucial four-game series before the Mets invade Friday.
Boone didn’t downplay his statement after the game.
“We can throw out all the sayings,” noted Boone. “Talk is cheap. We’ve got to go do it … We gotta go play tomorrow and try to dig ourselves out of this.
“It’s frustrating. We didn’t have a lot of chances. We have to pound this out.”
Yet, there were some signs early that the Yankees could bust out of their funk early when the quickly rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game with a Gio Urshela solo homer and a Gary Sanchez RBI groundout.
Angels starter Dylan Bondy was forced to leave the game after Urshela’s homer in the second after he vomited behind the mound.
Jose Suarez replaced Bondy and he was impressive in keeping the Yankees off balance for the next five innings.
“His fastball held up,” offered Boone. “He has had a good year, and this was another strong game for him. He managed to hold us down.”
Angels’ phenom Shoei Ohtani, who will start Wednesday’s game, gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead with a massive solo homer in the first, his 26th of the year. Jared Walsh added an RBI double for a 2-0 advantage.
Ex-Met Juan Lagares increased the Angles lead to 4-2 with a solo shot in the top of the sixth, and Giancarlo Stanton brought the Yankees to within 4-3 when he blasted his 14th homer to center in the bottom of the frame.
But the Yankees couldn’t generate a late-inning off Suarez (3-1) – who got the win – Steve Cishek, and Raisel Iglesias, who pitched the ninth for his 14th save. Iglesias struck out Stanton, Luke Voit, and Gleyber Torres to end the game.
Stanton understands the situation.
“We’re the ones performing,” he said. “You can’t put that on him. We’re the ones that go up and have the opportunity to spin that around.”
Yanks rookie starter Michael King (0-4) was adequate over four innings, and once again the Yanks bullpen was rather effective with Lucas Luetge and Chad Green – both issued a run- and Nestor Cortes. King again had his first-inning issues, and he sees the pressure mounting.
“I think I was a little too cute in the first inning,” said King about his struggles. “I think I try to use more finesse and I feel I have to attack more.
“I don’t know,” he responded when asked about why the club’s issues. “We have been having this conversation. I have a lot of respect for everyone in the locker room. We can turn this around.”
Boone plans to keep the faith.
“We have to find way to put it all together,” he stressed. “The compete and intent in these guys is excellent. There have been teams that were in worse situations than this and overcome it.”