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Back-to-Back Devastating Loses for Betances and Yankees

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

 

Win the games you are expected to win and find a way to steal a few of the swing games. That’s the recipe for a successful playoff run. The New York Yankees are in the thick of a playoff race for both the American League Wild Card as well as the American League East.

When your pitcher match zero’s on the scoreboard through eight innings with MLB’s best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, you must find a way to win. When you have a four run lead on the road against the first place Boston Red Sox heading into the eighth inning, you must find a way to win.

The Yankees were unable to do either on back-to-back nights and as a result, miss a chance to gain ground on more than one team they trail in the standings.

On Wednesday, Michael Pineda and the Yankees bullpen matched the Dodgers ace and the opposing bullpen with zero’s on the scoreboard through eight innings. Yankees manager Joe Girardi called on closer Dellin Betances in the ninth, but things quickly turned disastrous for New York.

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager hit a line drive to second base but Starlin Castro was unable to hold on and the ball scooted into right field. Seager would then score the Dodgers go-ahead run on a double by Justin Turner. Adrian Gonzalez would then fly out, but the Dodgers were not done taking advantage of the Yankees mistakes.

Betances got Yasmani Grandal to dribble one back toward the mound. Betances fielded and thew home trying to get Turner, but the ball sailed over catcher Gary Sanchez’s head allowing the Dodgers to take a 2-0. The Yankees failed to score in the bottom of the frame, losing by that score to end the series.

The Yankees then traveled up to Boston to begin a four-game series with the AL East leading Red Sox Thursday night, with ace Masahiro Tanaka on the mound. While Tanaka may not have had his typical swing and miss stuff, he held the Red Sox to four hits and one run through seven innings before handing the ball to the bullpen with a 5-1 lead.

Girardi went to Adam Warren in the eighth. Warren gave up one run, a solo shot to Red Sox designated hitter, David Ortiz. No problem, the Yankees still held a 5-2 lead going to the ninth and final inning.

Clearly preferring not to use Betances, Girardi sent lefty Tommy Layne to the mound to start the ninth. Layne did his job, getting Aaron Hill to strike out swinging. Girardi then went to the bullpen once again, calling on Blake Parker, who hit the only batter he faced, Chris Young. Not wanting to take any chances, Girardi went back to the mound and called on Betances to hopefully get two outs and give the Yankees a win.

With the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers already having lost, the Yankees had a great opportunity to gain ground on both teams in the playoff race.

Young would take second base on defensive indifference as the Yankees were not concerned with him. Betances once again had trouble with his command and would walk Dustin Pedroia on five pitches. Young and Pedroia would then both advance to second and third respectively on defensive indifference once again.

Betances would get Xander Bogaerts to tap one back to the mound, and this time, the closer would flip the ball under hand to Sanchez at home plate and the Yankees were able to cut down Young for the second out. With runners on first and second, Ortiz came up and lined a single to center, scoring Pedroia and cutting the Yankees lead to 5-3.

The next batter, Mookie Betts, singled to left field, scoring Bogaerts, once again cutting into the Yankees lead.

Betances would throw a pitch to Hanley Ramirez that Sanchez was unable to grab and the tying and winning runs would advance to scoring position. His off-speed command was once again not there and the count went to 3-1. Needing to throw a fastball, Betances  grooved one to Ramirez who demolished it to straight away center field for a walk-off three-run home run to give Boston the 7-5.

A crushing lose for the Yankees. Two straight devastating losses for New York. This can not happen when you are chasing multiple teams for a playoff spot. Instead of pulling within three games of Boston for first place, the Yankees will now enter play on Friday five games behind the division leader. They also are 2.5 games back in the Wild Card, pending the result of a late game between Toronto and Anaheim.

The loss is the Yankees fourth in their last five games. They had previously won seven straight.

Upcoming Pitching Matchups

Friday: Yankees at Boston Red Sox, 7:10 p.m., WPIX/MLB Network; RHP Luis Cessa (4-1, 4.34) vs. RHP Clay Buchholz (6-10, 5.31).

Saturday: Yankees at Boston Red Sox, 1:05 p.m., FOX; RHP Bryan Mitchell (1-1, 2.45) vs. LHP David Price (16-8, 3.81).

Sunday: Yankees at Boston Red Sox, 8:08 p.m., ESPN; LHP CC Sabathia (8-12, 4.10) vs. LHP Drew Pomeranz (2-5, 4.60).

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