In the first two games of their current series against the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They knocked around Boston pitching and led both games late, but were unable to finish off the best team in the American League.
Game three wasn’t much better for the Yanks.
David Huff surrendered nine earned runs in only 3.1 innings of work as the Yankees dropped their third straight to the Red Sox, 13-9. Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-4 including his first career home run, one of four long balls the Red Sox hit on the day.
The Yankees came into this series with a head of steam. After a solid month of August, they had just swept the Chicago White Sox, including a crucial comeback win against Chris Sale. The Red Sox have killed all of that momentum, battered the Yankee bullpen and demoralized the team in its pursuit of a Wild Card berth.
But there is a silver lining for New York.
The Yankees’ offense, which has been stagnant all year, has put up 37 runs over their last five games, and they have proven they are capable of scoring in a variety of ways. They have speed in Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki who can wreak havoc on the base path. They also have power from both sides of the plate with Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds.
For a while, the Yankees were the only team above .500 with a negative run differential. Those days are no more. The Red Sox are the top-scoring offense in the majors this year, and the Yankees have matched them blow for blow in this series. If their bullpen can return to form, the Yankees could be extremely dangerous if they make the playoffs.
Furthermore, as brutal as the Yankees losses have been this weekend, the Wild Card-leading Tampa Bay Rays haven’t played much better. They’ve lost seven of their last 10 games and have failed to gain any ground on the Yankees in the Wild Card race. The Yankees are going through possibly their worst stretch of the season thus far, yet they remain 2.5 games back.
The Yankees haven’t lost ground in the standings, but they are running out of time. If they don’t fix their bullpen issues, the Baltimore Orioles will do what the Rays have failed to do and knock them out of playoff contention.