The Yanks’ struggles after a 38-23 start can be addressed to several factors. Matt Holliday, so good up to mid-June (and going into yesterday, .137-3-7 since June 12), got a viral infection, and spent time on the DL. Aaron Judge has cooled off considerably from his superman-like early performance (.190 since July 4), Aaron Hicks went on the DL (and may be headed back there. Since coming off the DL, just .207) and Starlin Castro spent 2 stints on the DL. All simultaneously, or it has appeared so. The problems at 1B have been documented (Bird’s injuries, Chris Carter) and Brett Gardner also has been known to cool off in the second half over the course of his career.
Every team has injuries, but the losses of Hicks (despite Clint Frazier doing ok in his absence), Holliday and Castro all at about the same time really hurt. And it can take a while to get it back, even when off the DL.
Yesterday, Castro missed the game due to an emergency root canal. Hicks hurt his oblique and you worry about him being lost for the season.
But Holliday, in his first game back from the DL, hit a 3-run HR to key a 5-1 Yankees’ (72-63) victory. Maybe he can get back to where he was before June 12.
As for Judge, you hope and wonder when he’ll get it back. The Yanks can use it down the stretch.
Masahiro Tanaka continued his resurgence after a rocky start to this season by pitching seven strong innings to put him over .500 on the season.
The Yanks struck first when Chase Headley (3 hits) hit his 10th HR of the season, giving the Yanks a 1-0 lead in the second.
Boston tied it in the top of the sixth when Eduardo Nunez (tearing it up since Boston got him from SF; where was this Nunez when the Yanks had him?) doubled, went to third on a groundout, and scored on a WP.
Holliday broke that tie in the bottom of the sixth with his 3-run HR (17).
A triple by Ellsbury (who replaced the injured Hicks) and a single by Sanchez (3 hits) accounted for the final score of 5-1.
Tanaka (W, 11-10, 4.54) 7 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 2 W, 3 K.
Robertson 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.32
Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 2.29
With 27 games to go, the Yanks are 4 1/2 back of Boston in the AL East. Big pitching showdown tonight, Severino vs. Sale. The Yanks maintain a 1-game lead over the surprising Twins for the top wild card and have a 2 1/2 game cushion as far as dropping out of the playoffs altogether.