The New York Yankees simply can't be this incompetent without Aaron Judge. The rest of the roster is at least supposed to be talented enough to contend for a Wild Card spot, not drop back-to-back series against two underwhelming baseball teams.
But of course, on national television, the Yankees embarrassingly lost their Sunday Night Baseball matchup to Boston after not hitting and then watching Gleyber Torres let a relay throw past him to put the eventual tying run in scoring position. On Friday, Gerrit Cole gave up another home run to Rafael Devers in that 3-2 loss. Why is Cole pitching to Devers in a 1-0 game the third time through the order? Devers hit a ground rule double in the previous at-bat. Why are we still doing this?
The Red Sox entered this series under .500. They had (and still do) one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball. They rank 24 in ERA (4.61) and 22nd in opponents' batting average (.253). The Yankees scored seven runs in three games. They somehow only walked seven times. Giancarlo Stanton, who notoriously kills the Red Sox, didn't start in the finale and only got five at-bats this series.
Josh Donaldson had one hit in this series. Anthony Rizzo went 0-for-7 (and was terrible against the White Sox). DJ LeMahieu is borderline unplayable (.236 AVG, .679 OPS). Again, everybody knows Aaron Judge is the MVP, but non-competitive at-bats, sloppy defense and lack of a sound pitching strategy from your ace is the definition of unacceptable baseball.
And when Domingo Germán and Clarke Schmidt give you two starts with a chance to win, you simply have to take advantage, especially if you're going to lose a Cole day.
Yankees of course are becoming embarrassing right in time to play the Red Sox
Let's not get into the Anthony Volpe conversation, either. He nearly walked off the Sox on Friday night -- mere feet away from a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth -- and is now hitting .186/.260/.345 on the year as some fans call for his demoton.
But at least those are growing pains we'd knew would be coming. The injuries? We knew they were coming. They always do. And they never cease. We didn't, however, expect a return of the 2021 version of this team to witness more low-energy or catastrophic losses. That year, you could either simulate the game to the ninth inning and know the outcome, or one of the worst blunders you'd ever see would tip the scales in favor of the opponent.
Even with Torres' terrible error, King still walked Reese McGuire, the No. 8 hitter. And in case you didn't notice that hanger to Kiké Hernandez on the 1-2 count, that got the rally started. Three days prior, he blew the game against the Chicago White Sox in the seventh inning after surrendering a home run to the now-powerless Eloy Jimenez. In 51 innings last year, King allowed just three homers and 16 walks. In 36 innings this year, he's allowed two homers and 12 walks.
The Yankees might be entering dangerous territory where, on top of dealing with a ton of disadvantages, everything starts to go wrong for their most reliable productive players. But that's not supposed to happen to winning teams, particularly against their most hated rival. The Red Sox have been enduring a terrible stretch of baseball since May 7 (12-19 record) but the Bombers still let them waltz into the Bronx and punk them on national television. This sounds like the part where the anger becomes very, very justified.