The Houston Astros put the finishing touch on a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees on Wednesday with a convincing 8-6 win.
Well, the New York Yankees did not have a good series against the Astros. There are no two ways about it.
Poor defense and shaky bullpen performances let the first two winnable games slip through their fingers. The Astros controlled the final game of the series from the first inning to the last out.
James Paxton was knocked around for the second game in a row. The Big Maple pitched more like The Small Pine, surrendering five earned runs on eight hits in just four innings of work. This outing is far from the bounce back start the Yankees needed from him following the first two losses.
The team continued to struggle on the defensive end. Tonight’s most egregious defensive play came from former gold glove outfielder Brett Gardner. The veteran misplayed a fly ball, whiffing on a diving catch attempt which resulted in the ball rolling to into dead center field.
After an Altuve homer, Gurriel puts the @astros ahead with a 3-bagger! #MLBNShowcase pic.twitter.com/uIOeUk9hYj
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) April 11, 2019
Additionally, Clint Frazier now appears to fear diving for balls in the outfield. Rather than aggressively pursuing the short pop-ups, the talented outfielder allowed them to drop as singles so as not to lose the ball as he did on Tuesday.
Frazier needs to work on his defense until he’s confident enough to trust that he makes the right decisions in the field. If he provides just average defense, his offensive talent will carry him to a successful season.
The offense was stagnant again for most of the night. An eighth-inning rally started by a two-run homer from Luke Voit gave fans a brief glimmer of hope. That hope disappeared following a Gary Sanchez strikeout with the team trailing by one run and a man at third.
The worst part of the entire night, however, came in Aaron Boone’s post-game press conference. When confronted about how disappointed he was with the team’s performance, Boone shrugged it off and reiterated his mantra of the series.
“I feel like we’re really close.”
That statement really annoys me after watching a sloppy team get swept when they had a great chance to walk out with a series win.
Aaron Boone feels like the Yankees are "really close to turning a corner." pic.twitter.com/K9jzBxFwA8
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) April 11, 2019
The offense as a whole managed to put up six runs, most of which came in another late rally that fell just short. Gardner and Voit both found the outfield stands. Frazier and DJ LeMahieu scraped a couple more runs across with a sac-fly each.
Brett Gardner. Boom. 1-0 Yankees. #PinstripePride pic.twitter.com/56dWWH8mIv
— ESNY (@EliteSportsNY) April 11, 2019
Luke Voit can't stop hitting dingers. pic.twitter.com/NRfHCSOUGx
— Evan Daniel (@mrevandaniel) April 11, 2019
Pitcher Joe Harvey made his major league debut and had a solid outing. The rookie threw two scoreless innings, giving up one hit, one walk and punching three tickets.
Harvey is more than likely the odd man out when CC Sabathia returns this weekend but it’s still nice to see a young guy reach the big leagues and perform well.
Some good bit from that Mr Harvey interview. A bright spot from this bleak series. pic.twitter.com/eijHPBn7cU
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) April 11, 2019
LeMahieu finished with three hits and two RBI in three at-bats. The utility infielder has been the consistent contact bat the Yankees desperately needed in 2018 and shows no signs of slowing down.
Sanchez took a pinch-hit at-bat in the eighth inning of the game. While it wasn’t a successful at bat, it’s a relief to see that the leg tightness reported before the game isn’t severe enough to sideline him completely. The Yankees simply can’t afford to lose another player to the injured list.
The Yankees have an off day prior to a three-game set with the Chicago White Sox in The Bronx. Chicago is a struggling team which makes this is a great opportunity for the Bombers to rebound.
A day off to clear the mind and a lower tier opponent should refocus and energize the team.