A nightmarish end to bad series in Oakland. The Athletics pushed the Yankees around all night — they did everything better, especially pitch and defend — and sent New York to an 8-2 loss Wednesday. The Yankees are 3.5 games up for the top wildcard spot and, now that the two teams split the season series, it’s worth nothing the Yankees currently hold the homefield advantage tiebreaker for the Wild Card Game, which is intradivision record (34-26 vs. 30-34). West Coast night games get bullet point recaps — this game doesn’t deserve more than that anyway — so let’s get to it.
- Disaster Inning: Was the first inning the worst inning of the season? Might’ve been. After stranding the bases loaded in the top half, Luis Severino got knocked around for four runs in the bottom half. Gary Sanchez had a hand in that as well. A piss-poor effort behind the plate led to four pitches to the backstop (they were scored two passed balls and two wild pitches but it could’ve been four passed balls). Severino, meanwhile, allowed four 100+ mph batted balls to the first five batters he faced. Brett Gardner and Andrew McCutchen both had balls hit over their heads. A disaster inning in every possible way.
- Severino Struggles: Severino is still broken, folks. Maybe moreso than at any other point this season. His line Wednesday night: 2.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K on 59 pitches. Eleven balls in play and six at 95 mph or better. His 96.2 mph average fastball velocity was his lowest in any game since April 2016. In his last eleven starts now, he has a 6.83 ERA (4.96 FIP) and opponents are hitting .323/.360/.574 against him. The Yankees should probably skip Severino’s next start entirely and let him catch his breath. A stunning fall from grace, this has been.
- Two Token Runs: The Yankees had Mike Fiers on the ropes in the first inning. The first three men they sent to the play hit rockets, and back-to-back two-out walks loaded the bases for folk hero Luke Voit. He grounded out to third and that was that. After that first inning 14 of the next 15 men the Yankees sent to the plate made outs. The one baserunner was of course erased on a double play. Seems like the Yankees have hit into a ton of those lately. Anyway, the Yankees scored their two runs in the seventh inning, on an Aaron Hicks walk and a Sanchez two-run homer, his first since coming back from the disabled list.
- Leftovers: Jonathan Holder (one inning) and Luis Cessa (three innings) both allowed a run in relief. Stephen Tarpley and Tommy Kahnle combined in for a scoreless ninth … Hicks reached base three times (single, two walks) and Sanchez reached base twice (homer, walk). The rest of the Yankees reached twice (Neil Walker and Voit had singles) … let’s close with some good news, shall we? Severino’s first strikeout was his 200th of the season. He is only the third pitcher in franchise history with back-to-back 200-strikeout seasons, joining Ron Guidry (1978-79) and David Cone (1997-98). That blows my mind.
Here are the box score, video highlights, updated standings, and postseason odds. Here’s our Bullpen Workload page. This three-game series is over and the Yankees have an off-day Thursday before beginning a three-game series in Seattle on Friday night. Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton are the scheduled starters for the opener.