Yankees' bats slumbering: 'We're frustrated'

September 6th, 2020

When was asked to describe the atmosphere in the Yankees' clubhouse late on Saturday, the articulate ace produced only two words: "Not happy." The mood won't be any chattier on the team's socially-distanced chartered flight on Sunday, pointing toward what will now be a crucial series against the Blue Jays.

Dean Kremer limited the Yankees' slumbering bats to one hit over six innings in his Major League debut, outpitching in the Bombers' 5-1 loss at Camden Yards. Baltimore is a destination that usually helps the Yanks fatten their record, but instead, the O's took three out of four games in the weekend series.

"It seems like the season just started a few weeks ago, but the reality is we've got three weeks of baseball left," said. "Collectively as a unit, we've got to find a way to get better if we want to get to where we want to be."

Hours after manager Aaron Boone wrestled with a decision to bench slumping catcher , his lineup was unable to generate much offense against Kremer, a 24-year-old rookie who is rated as the Orioles' No. 10 prospect by MLB Pipeline and was part of the July 2018 Manny Machado trade with the Dodgers.

Two walks and a single loaded the bases in the second inning against Kremer, who induced to hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice before whiffing Tyler Wade, one of Kremer's seven strikeouts. Showcasing a lively fastball, Kremer retired 10 straight after that brush with trouble, taking advantage of a lineup that Boone believes is now pressing.

"We're frustrated," Boone said. "I think guys are pissed off, and it's understandable. We've got a big series starting [Monday]. We've got to find a way to put a little bit more pressure offensively to get going here."

Slide rule
Banking on an offensive cavalry that never arrived, Tanaka did his best to keep the game close. Tanaka threw 44 sliders out of his 95 pitches, generating 10 swings and misses.

Hanser Alberto led off with a bunt single and DJ Stewart slugged a two-run homer in the first inning, his third blast in two games, but Tanaka's arsenal helped keep Baltimore off the board again until the sixth. Tanaka said that he adjusted his release point slightly after Stewart's homer.

"I think I was off mechanically a little bit," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "You don't want to give up a home run and give them a lead in the first inning, but after that inning, I think I was able to make some mechanical adjustments to put myself back on the right track."

In the sixth, Andújar muffed a Pedro Severino chopper and Tanaka was chased by Rio Ruiz's one-out single. issued a bases-loaded walk to Bryan Holaday, then saw Andrew Velazquez reach on a run-scoring infield hit that second baseman smothered on the infield grass.

Tanaka was charged with four runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings. The Yanks have lost three straight games to the Orioles, a club that they had bested in 20 of 22 games dating to the start of last season.

The Yanks have lost three straight games to the Orioles, a club that they had bested in 20 of 22 games dating to the start of last season.

"Look at their roster and look at ours," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "There is quite a big difference in terms of experience. A lot of those guys have played in a lot of big games and most of our guys are getting our feet wet, so I'm really happy with how we played against premier pitching."

Buffalo bound
Forecast as a World Series favorite in preseason rankings, the Yankees are acutely aware of the stakes waiting in Buffalo, N.Y., on Monday, when they'll open a three-game series with the Blue Jays.

"It's definitely tough moment right now," Andújar said through an interpreter. "I've got to say that looking at my teammates, they're staying positive and they're staying strong mentally. I have no doubt that we're going to be able to put this behind us."

The Yankees and Blue Jays have 10 regular-season games remaining, and the outcome of those contests will weigh heavily into determining playoff seeding -- or perhaps even postseason inclusion, something that was widely believed to be a given for Boone's team.

"The Blue Jays happen to be a team that we are fighting for a playoff spot, so you understand the urgency," Boone said. "We need to go play well. We need to go put together a game and start playing the way we're capable of, or none of it matters anyway."