Make it five consecutive losses at the Oakland Coliseum dating back to last season. The Yankees lost Monday afternoon’s series-opener 6-3 to the Athletics. Just another game in which the Yankees were outplayed and out-managed. The Yankees are playing like a team that thinks it can flip the ON switch whenever necessary. If only it was that easy. It’s a holiday, so let’s recap this one with bullet points:
- CC Labors on Labor Day: Ugly start for CC Sabathia, who didn’t get any help from Miguel Andujar defensively, but also allowed a lot of loud contact to a predominantly right-handed lineup. He threw 39 pitches in the three-run first — it would’ve been 36 pitches in a two-run first if Andujar didn’t pull Luke Voit off the first base bag on a routine play that would’ve been the final out — and also gave up a run in the second and a run in the fourth. Sabathia’s final line: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, ER, 2 BB, 4 K on 66 pitches. A stinker, through and through.
- Three Early Runs: This looked like it would be a slugfest before Trevor Cahill settled down and one of the two managers realized he could use his good relievers. The Yankees scored a first inning run thanks to Andrew McCutchen’s first hit with the team. He shot a single up the middle, stole second, went to third when Jonathan Lucroy’s sailed into center field, and scored on Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly. Voit clobbered a two-run home run in the second inning. Wasn’t even a bad pitch. Sinker at the knees. Takes some strength to hit that pitch out to right-center in that park.
- Boone Strikes Again: What impossibly stupid bullpen management. There are eleven guys in the bullpen, the Yankees were down one run with a runner on second and one out in the fourth inning of an important game, so of course Aaron Boone goes to A.J. Cole to face the middle of the order. Cole allowed the inherited runner to score (of course) and then gave up a home run (of course) in the fifth to turn a one-run deficit to a three-run deficit. Brian Cashman has to take Cole away from Boone like he took Scott Proctor away from Joe Torre back in the day. Boone keeps bringing Cole into winnable games and they become unwinnable games. And because that’s not bad enough, Chad Green entered the game with the Yanks down three in the sixth. Why not use Green in the fourth? I didn’t think “use your good relievers in important situations in important games” is something a front office would have to explain to a manager, but here we are.
- The Last Chances: The Yankees had their best chance to make this a game in the seventh inning. Gary Sanchez reached on a strikeout/passed ball and Gleyber Torres drew a walk to put two on with no outs. Then Voit and pinch-hitter Neil Walker struck out, and Brett Gardner flew out. Boone’s options were Adeiny Hechavarria against a righty (.217/.246/.307) or Walker against a lefty (.176/.240/.250). A no-win situation. Sanchez struck out after back-to-back two-out walks in the eighth. The Yankees did not have a hit against Oakland’s bullpen.
- Leftovers: In his return to the Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga struck out four in two scoreless innings. The worst reliever used pitched in the game’s most important situation … only four hits by the Yankees and none after the fifth inning. Voit homered, Gardner doubled, and McCutchen and Hechavarria singled … Hicks, Andujar, Sanchez, and Torres each drew walks.
Here’s the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and postseason odds. Here’s our Bullpen Workload page. The Yankees and Athletics will be back it with the second game of this three-game series Tuesday night. J.A. Happ will be on the mound for the good guys. The A’s will use Liam Hendriks as an opener. That’s a 10pm ET start.