By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
On a night that looked like a gimme for the Yankees, it turned out to be a triple-bogey. (You can use a number of analogies here).
The truth for this team has surfaced to the top. Welcome to the rest of a season filled with mediocrity, one the Yankees set in place at the start, and no one wanted to admit it.
They had sent the game’s modern-day version of Babe Ruth – slugger and pitcher – the Angels’ Shoei Ohtani to the showers in the first inning mainly due to his three walks, and had grabbed a 7-2 lead in the process. This was the same Ohtani who entered the game with an 0.58 ERA and allowed just 39 hits in 59 innings.
Rain became part and interrupted the game for the first of two interruptions that lasted over two hours in length.
Still, the baseball gods appeared to have swung the pendulum in the Yanks’ favor for the second consecutive night, and their dire strait appeared to be over. They had an 8-4 cushion and were three outs away.
That was until Aroldis Chapman issued a grand slam to Jared Walsh in the top of the ninth, and the Halos added three more runs off Lucas Luetge for a stunning 8-4 victory that sent a bump in the night for Bronx bedlam.
Are these Yankees doomed for the rest of the season? Their likely most crushing defeat of the season gave them an overall 41-39 record and dropped them into fourth place, 8.5 games behind the Red Sox.
Even though their bats have erupted the past two games, pitching and runners in scoring position (3-for-12 Wednesday night) continue to be their main faults.
Starter Domingo German still hasn’t found the magic he once had, as he posted a mediocre outing with three runs in three innings.
Darren O’Day returned off his rehab stint and was part of an impressive group of Justin Wilson, Luis Cessa, and Jonathan Loaisiga, who provided a hold.
In the end, though, the pressure again will be turned back on manager Aaron Boone, who oddly gave Aaron Judge the day off.
In Boone’s defense, however, he is playing the hand that GM Brian Cashman has dealt him. It has been one with a questionable pitching staff as well as questions in the lineup.
Where have you gone Masahiro Tanaka and Didi Gregorius? Was signing Corey Kluber and Jameson Tallion and moving Gleyber Torres to short the answer?
On the other hand, Boone is sounding more like Adam Gase –another defeated coach.
“A terrible loss,” Boone said. “We continue to have good at bats and give ourselves chances to blow the game open and couldn’t get it done. So we let them hang around enough and then it was obviously a struggle there in the ninth.”
They will try to salvage a matinee today against a beleaguered Angels’ pitching staff.
But the writing is still on the wall.