The Yankees went from winning seven of nine to losing five of seven in short order. The White Sox finished off their three-game sweep of the Bombers on Wednesday night with a 2-1 win that frankly didn’t feel all that close.
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For the first time in his career, Derek Jeter has homered in three straight games. All three homers were pulled as well, which just isn’t something you’re going to see the Cap’n do very often. He’s suddenly raised his season line to .324/.364/.450 and has been, by far, the club’s best offensive player for the last few weeks.
Jeter’s homer tied the game at one in the sixth and was only the second run the Yankees scored in the final 17 innings of the series. As a team, they struck out a season-high 15 times against Chris Sale and Addison Reed (with a little Brett Myers mixed in as well) on Wednesday night while twice stranding runners on second base with less than two outs. The bottom five hitters in the order went a combined 0-for-15 with one walk (Andruw Jones) and nine strikeouts. Sale’s really good but I don’t want to give him all the credit — the Yankees swung at an awful lot of balls off the plate. Good way to suffocate the offense.
Fly Ball Phil
He wasn’t as good as Sale, but Phil Hughes was pretty damn effective on Wednesday. He allowed two runs in seven innings, the first of which scored after the umpire blew a call on a Dewayne Wise bunt. That would have been the first out and maybe they score the runner from third anyway, but first-and-third with no outs is an entirely different animal than man on third and one out. Anyway, the other run came on an Alex Rios solo homer in the sixth, a whole three pitches after Jeter tied the game. That was incredibly annoying.
Hughes struck out five and walked two — two of the first four batters of the game –while getting a dozen of his 16 ball-in-play outs in the air. He retired nine of the last ten batters he faced with the one exception being the game-losing homer. Phil hit a bit of a wall about two weeks ago, throwing back-to-back dud starts against the Tigers and Blue Jays, but he’s since rebounded with a pair of solid seven-inning efforts against the Red Sox and first place ChiSox. Tough luck loser in this one.
David Robertson allowed a single and plunked Kevin Youkilis in the eighth, but otherwise escaped the jam thanks to a nice double play turn by Robinson Cano and Jeter. He was just getting work in after having a few days off, otherwise Hughes might have thrown another inning — he was at 98 pitches after seven.
Cano went 2-for-4 with a booming double into the right-center field gap and a hot-shot ground ball through the third baseman, which are hopefully indications that his bat is coming around. He came into the game in a 3-for-34 slump and is part of the reason why the Yankees haven’t been scoring as many runs as they should despite Jeter and Swisher doing great things hitting one-two.
That’s pretty much it. If it makes you feel any better, the Yankees lost three straight August games to the White Sox in Chicago back in 2009, and that season ended happily.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the extra nerdy stuff, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays beat the Royals, so they are now just three back in the loss column. Yankees need to get themselves straight and soon. The magic number remains 36.
After playing 20 games in 20 days, the Yankees are off on Thursday. They’ll open a three-game series with the abysmal Indians — they’ve won four of their last 25 games — in Cleveland on Friday, when CC Sabathia is expected to turn to the rotation in his old stomping grounds. He’ll get the ball against rookie right-hander Corey Kluber.