The New York Yankees allow the upstart Houston Astros to dominate them at home, falling woefully inconsistent in the month of August.
By Bryan Pol
On Monday, pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, earning the Twitter trending hashtag #NastyNate from the Yankees’ Twitter feed, tossed eight scoreless innings, surrendering only four hits in a 1-0 ninth inning victory against Houston, won off the bat of a long Carlos Beltran sacrifice fly to center managed off Astros reliever Oliver Perez.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 25, 2015
The performance lowered Eovaldi’s ERA to an even 4.00 on the year. At 13-2 on the season, the pitcher acquired from Miami in the offseason is 3-0 in his last five starts, sporting a 3.06 ERA, with batters collectively hitting only .203 against him in his last three starts. Suddenly, Eovaldi, 8-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his last twelve starts, is the Yankees’ most dependable starter, a promising proposition with CC Sabathia likely no longer a member of the starting rotation in light of even more knee inflammation, an ailment that puts the former ace on the DL.
Having lost three of four to the visiting Cleveland Indians, the Yankees needed Monday’s start in the worst way, as it kept the scorching Toronto Blue Jays at bay, giving New York a half-game lead in the AL East.
Alas, Eovaldi’s performance seems eons ago.
In the remainder of the three-game series with Houston, in which the Yankees were outscored 21-3, New York was downright embarrassed, even causing a spot of controversy in a 15-1 defeat that saw benches clear and Carlos Gomez get under their skin in light of indirectly causing the brawl before going 2-for-6 with a homer and four RBI.
The New York Yankees on Twitter were somehow able to find a bright spot last night, as infielder Brendan Ryan tossed two scoreless innings, allowing only two hits.
In their two starts to close out the series, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda, back from his month-long stint on the disabled list, collectively threw 8 1/3 innings, allowing 12 earned runs. Chris Capuano fared no better in relief of Nova on Tuesday night, as he relinquished six runs over two innings, giving up Gomez’s seventh inning home run that effectively put the Yankees to rest.
With a 6-2 loss in Wednesday’s rubber match against Houston, the Yankees fall to 69-57, failing to become the fifth team in the majors to win 70 games on the year. All in all, the Yankees have played the part of playoff pretenders in August, playing under .500 ball (11-13) for the month in spite of Carlos Beltran’s torrid run and Greg Bird’s most recent heroics.
The Blue Jays, winners of four straight, their most recent, a 6-5 win last night against Texas, continue a three-game series in Arlington tonight, looking to take a two-game lead in the division by sending David Price to the mound. Price is now 3-0 in four starts with the Jays, sporting a 1.78 ERA. The Yankees cannot afford to have him go 4-0 since the late July trade that brought him to Toronto.
With an off day tomorrow, the Yankees will visit the Atlanta Braves on Friday for the start of another three-game slate, and they will have their three best pitchers—ace Masahiro Tanaka, rookie star Luis Severino, and the dependable Nathan Eovaldi–in place to stop a freefall that has seen the Yankees lose their once-stout seven-game lead (as of July 27) in the American League East in a matter of a month.
Hopefully, Yankee arms can settle in and their bats can come back to life as they look to get back on track against Atlanta. Given their recent skid, the Yankees are conveying just how much they miss A-Rod, in the midst of a 4-for-27 slump since his game-deciding grand slam against Minnesota on August 18, and Mark Teixeira, still hobbling with a leg bruise.
With or without their best, most consistent bats, the Yankees must find a way to stop the bleeding so as not to let their grasp on the AL East slip away entirely.
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