Yanks' skid at 4: 'We just haven't showed up'
NEW YORK -- Giancarlo Stanton tattooed a no-doubt laser into the visitors’ bullpen in the sixth inning, tapping his helmet before rounding the bases in a corporate trot. There was no sizzle to the homer, not with the bases empty and the Yankees trailing -- two circumstances that they have seen far too much of.
Gio Urshela also cleared the fences and Gary Sánchez drove in an early run, but it was not enough. The Yankees could not respond to manager Aaron Boone’s proclamation that their "season is on the line,” absorbing their fourth consecutive defeat in a 5-3 loss to Shohei Ohtani and the Angels on Monday at Yankee Stadium.
“We just haven't showed up every night,” Stanton said. “We’ll have spurts of it. But this game, these seasons, this uniform isn’t about spurts. It’s about showing up every night, so we've got to pick it up.”
Yogi Berra once said that it “gets late early out there,” referring to encroaching shadows that made fielding fly balls challenging during day games in the Bronx. That phrase also applies to the American League East standings, where the fourth-place Yankees are now 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading Red Sox.
Boone made his “on the line” comment before remarking that the division is too competitive for his team to continue playing inconsistently. At 40-38, the Yankees are off to their slowest start since 2016, when they posted their 40th victory in the season’s 81st game. They have not finished with fewer than 100 victories in either of Boone’s first two full seasons as manager.
“Talk is cheap,” Boone said. “We’ve got to go and do it. As disappointing and as frustrating as it is to not grab this first one, especially coming off the weekend we had [in Boston], we’ve got to go play and try and dig ourselves out of this.”
Ohtani claimed a share of the Major League home run lead by hitting his 26th off Bombers starter Michael King, who was charged with three runs (two earned) on six hits over 4 1/3 innings. Ohtani’s blast came on a curveball that King said he hung, leaving the two-way sensation’s bat at 117.2 mph.
Jared Walsh also laced a run-scoring double in the first inning before King settled in. That has been a familiar trend for the right-hander, who has permitted 10 runs in the first inning this season, compared with nine in all other innings combined.
“I felt like I was able to give them more uncomfortable at-bats,” King said. “The first inning, I was behind in the count and had to throw some pitches over the middle of the plate. I got burned.”
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Urshela’s homer off Dylan Bundy in the second inning tied the score before the Yankees watched as Bundy was helped off the field two batters later, vomiting at the back of the mound after television cameras caught him sweating profusely. First pitch was recorded at 90 degrees, and the Angels later announced that Bundy exited due to heat exhaustion.
“I felt bad for him,” Urshela said. “He was pitching there and I don’t know really what happened, but that’s not good for him. I hope he’s OK.”
The Yanks’ bats were largely silent against reliever José Suarez, who held New York to Stanton’s 108.4 mph, 426-foot blast over 5 1/3 innings.
Juan Lagares hit a homer off Lucas Luetge in the sixth inning, and José Iglesias doubled home a run in the eighth facing Chad Green. Steve Cishek and Raisel Iglesias kept the Yanks off the bases in the final two frames.
“We just couldn’t put much together,” Boone said.
King said that the Yankees have been holding meetings in the clubhouse, led by veterans Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, Darren O’Day and Luke Voit, all of whom he described as “very vocal.”
“We’ve been having some conversations,” King said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for everybody in that locker room. I still have a lot of faith that we’ll get it together, but it has not clicked yet. And it’s frustrating.”
This series will deliver the halfway point of the Yankees’ season. Stanton believes the team can play up to its lofty expectations.
“Absolutely. We have in the past,” Stanton said. “We’ve shown plenty that we’re capable of doing it. It doesn’t really matter, anything that I say right now. We’ve got to go do it. Words aren’t going to do anything.”