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Gerrit Cole gets taken out of game by Aaron Boone

Gerrit Cole gets taken out of game by Aaron Boone

The Yankees are down bad. There’s really no other way around it.

A team as good as they are on paper shouldn’t be 5-10 and at the bottom of the AL East, but that’s where they find themselves after getting swept by the Tampa Bay Rays in a 4-2 loss at Yankee Stadium on Sunday even with Gerrit Cole on the bump. The Yankees have lost five straight games and eight of their last 10.

“Certainly not happy. It’s not happy,” Cole said about the feeling in the clubhouse at the moment.

The Yankees can’t seem to get the job done in multiple facets of the game, so how could they be anything but upset at the moment? They only collected three hits for Cole today, though two of them – a Giancarlo Stanton solo blast and DJ LeMahieu two-out single with a runner on second – scored two runs. Other than that, though, 10 strikeouts on the board from a legion of bullpen arms for the Rays kept the lumber cold for the Bombers.

Strikeouts have become so common with the game now, let alone the Yankees. But what New York has done in the past is make pitchers pay for missing their spot. Aaron Boone sees that it’s not happening right now for his crew.

“When we do get a pitch, we’re just not consistently enough — not only hitting it with authority — but doing damage,” he said. “That’s what we are as a team. When we get a pitch to hammer, you gotta take advantage of it. The pitching’s too good. I feel like the zone control is ok, but when we get a pitch, you can’t put it on the net. You gotta pummel it. We’re not doing that right now.

“Bad series. Just got to get better. Period.”

The Yankees are currently 25th in MLB with 7.14 hits per game, and as you’d expect, their 3.79 runs per game is also low at 24th in the league. These aren’t numbers you’d expect with guys like Aaron Judge, Stanton, LeMahieu and others in the lineup.

So how do the Yankees shed away this bad play to start the season and start playing like the team that won 103 games two years ago?

“No one’s going to feel sorry for us,” LeMahieu said. “No one’s going to throw softer, throw easier for us. We gotta find it within ourselves to continue to get better and play the way we’re capable of.”

“I think we just gotta play hard baseball,” Cole said. “Gotta take it one pitch every time and sell out to every pitch. The results will start to come if we stay in that mindset and we leave the field every day exhausted. Good things are on the horizon, but I don’t have the magic wand. I don’t know when it’s going to turn and right now when you’re kinda going through it you just gotta keep grinding and play hard baseball.”

Boone added: “It’s part of being a big leaguer. You got to be able to work through the challenges, the tough moments. The good ones are able to do that. Right now, we got to find a way to build through some small successes and start to play with that confidence and that swagger this team has when they’re going well.”