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Yanks allow 7-plus runs in 7th straight game

Club loses third consecutive contest to Sox as pitching woes continue
@BryanHoch
July 27, 2019

BOSTON -- The Yankees’ charter jet touched down at Logan International Airport carrying a confident group, one that had spoken openly about hoping to end any realistic chance of the Red Sox re-emerging in the American League East chase. Twenty-seven innings later, the urgency has increased for general manager Brian

BOSTON -- The Yankees’ charter jet touched down at Logan International Airport carrying a confident group, one that had spoken openly about hoping to end any realistic chance of the Red Sox re-emerging in the American League East chase.

Twenty-seven innings later, the urgency has increased for general manager Brian Cashman to reinforce the pitching staff ahead of Wednesday’s Trade Deadline. CC Sabathia became the seventh consecutive starter to make an early exit on Saturday afternoon, chased in the fifth inning of New York's 9-5 loss at Fenway Park.

Box score

"It’s frustrating," Sabathia said. "You want to pitch well. We know we have a good team over here, a great offense. We’ve been the reason we’ve been losing games, and we want to turn that around."

This poor stretch has authored history for the Bombers, and not the brand they intend to celebrate: New York has now allowed seven or more runs in seven straight games for the first time in franchise history.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox are hardly buried, having won five of six to move into the second AL Wild Card spot and second place in the AL East, a half-game ahead of the Rays. The defending World Series champions now reside eight games back in the division, a season-high 12 games over .500.

"We know they're a great club and certainly capable of this kind of weekend when you're not playing at your best," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "It didn't take a few games for me to realize that."

Cashman has been casting a wide net for pitching help, and though most industry voices believe that the Yankees can still add at least one starting pitcher before next week's Deadline, the lofty asking prices throughout the league have thus far not yielded a match.

In the meantime, pitching coach Larry Rothschild said that he must guide the current group of starters out of the abyss. Yankees starters have now pitched to a 16.62 ERA (48 earned runs in 26 innings) over their last seven games, with New York dropping five of those contests.

"This doesn't happen with just one thing," Rothschild said. "It's different things from different guys. First-pitch strikes and things like that haven't been good, and it's a bunch of different stuff that has been reviewed and talked about and tried to be corrected. It's been really tough on them, tough on the team. It's my responsibility to get it right."

Saturday's contest opened on an encouraging note, as Sabathia retired the Red Sox in order in the first inning and Gio Urshela homered to deep center field off Eduardo Rodriguez in the second, offering New York its first lead of the series. Andrew Benintendi answered in the home half of the second, stroking a homer that sailed just inside Pesky’s Pole in right field.

"I thought it was a foul ball," said right fielder Aaron Judge. "I really didn’t know what was going on. I saw it bounce back in and I was trying to get it back in as quick as I can, so I didn’t really get a good read on if it was fair or foul or what. It went to replay and it was a homer."

In the fourth, Rafael Devers opened the inning with a single and J.D. Martinez unloaded a one-out rocket into the Green Monster seats for a two-run homer, granting Boston a lead it would not relinquish. Sabathia permitted three more hits in the inning, including a Michael Chavis RBI single.

"I just left too many balls over the middle of the plate," Sabathia said. "With the stuff I have now, I've got to be pitching to the corners. There were a lot of balls over the plate."

Given the state of the Yanks' taxed bullpen, which was worked heavily during a three-game series in Minnesota and has not received a break here in Boston, Boone and Rothschild hoped to push Sabathia through five innings. Back-to-back doubles by Devers and Xander Bogaerts with one out in the fifth ended that attempt.

"When you go through this, those guys in the bullpen, we've tried to stay away from using them too much," Rothschild said. "Now we're into using guys that we'd rather use with leads and tie games just to get through games. It's a catch-22 right now."

Boston pulled away with four runs charged to Chad Green. Urshela provided a highlight for the road team by collecting the first four-hit game of his career, but even that came with a dash of concern: Urshela rolled his right ankle on an eighth-inning double, though he expects to play on Sunday.

In the larger picture, Boone acknowledged that adjustments must be made, but he also cautioned that it is important to not overreact.

"Obviously it's been a tough weekend for us so far, but I say all the time, it's inevitable you're going to get punched in the mouth in a Major League season," Boone said. "We'll be up to the challenge."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.