The trifecta! The New York Yankees have hit it yet again! We sincerely hope Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman are reaping the benefits in some way or else this disastrous 2023 season really will have been a waste.
This Yankees team has, time and time again, failed to understand that every run counts. Whenever they get out to early leads, they seemingly think it's enough and then go silent for the next 6-8 innings. They've refused to embrace a semblance of fundamentals, whether it be playing better defense, running the bases properly, getting the runners over, or choking up and poking one to the opposite field.
Then, when the inevitable bad sequence of umpiring occurs, everyone throws their hands in the air. It should never be coming down to this!
The Yankees simply don't execute on either end of the ball. Aaron Boone doesn't make the right managerial decisions when they're in a pinch. Very rarely does the team band together in high-pressure situations and see the glorious end of it.
So when the Yankees took a 1-0 lead on Thursday in the series finale against the Nationals, they predictably took the foot off the gas pedal and got sloppy. It took two innings, guys?!
Bad pitching, bad umpiring, and errors watch sad Yankees drop series to Nationals
Ten times out of 10, the runner on second is SPRINTING to third base when there's a grounder hit to the left side of the infield. Nine times out of 10 the runner on third is SPRINTING home on an infield grounder. Ten times out of 10, the runner is out.
Stealing bases is also largely a foreign concept to this team. How many baserunning blunders will Oswald Peraza make in his incredibly limited action this year?
Two outs on the bases in the same inning. Did we mention the Yankees lost this game 6-5 and we're only at the beginning of this tale?
Two incoming gaffes from Anthony Volpe! The Yankees are the most efficient Error Factory in Major League Baseball.
Inexcusable. The next one was definitely forgivable, but it would've been nice if he could've maybe leveled up to make this play to stop the bleeding in the Nationals' four-run seventh inning.
Reliever Tommy Kahnle, after that play, surrendered two home runs to relinquish the lead. He's been at the forefront of far too many blown games, much like every other Yankees reliever. But Kahnle's been a special kind of mystifying, constantly unable to slam the door with two outs.
And that leads us to the factor that should almost never matter. Home plate umpire Will Little was largely bad on Thursday, but this is nothing new for the state of MLB umpiring. This horrific call on Volpe may have changed the Yankees' scoring situation in the eighth inning because Everson Pereira doubled in the next at-bat for his first career hit.
But then came Boone. He had to make an appearance. Instead of riding the hot hand with Kyle Higashioka against Nationals closer Kyle Finnegan, he called on Jake Bauers to pinch hit against the right-hander. The lefty slugger had been 0 for his last 21. Make it 22. Staring at a strike right over the plate.
And what would this heartbreaking loss be without a Clay Holmes meltdown both with his command and fielding? Holmes allowed one earned run on four hits and a hit batter (in the head) to give the Nationals a 6-4 lead. The Yankees would score a run in the bottom of the ninth and come a few feet away from walking it off, but had Holmes not beefed it against the Nats' 7-8-9 hitters, we'd be in extra innings.
The man can't field his position. And the dinky infield single from CJ Abrams two batters prior continuously happens when he's on the mound -- just barely out of his reach and in no man's land because the infielders are playing absurdly deep. Absolutely infuriating. This wasn't ruled an error by Holmes, but it was more of the same spazz-like defense he's provided when trying to field his position.
Another dropped series to one of the league's bottom feeders. For a second there, we stupidly thought Wednesday night's victory and Brian Cashman's honest press conference might've lit something under this team. Nope. See you in 2024.