The Yankees suffered a sloppy 8-2 loss, their third straight defeat and sixth in the past eight games, against a Tampa Bay Rays team that entered Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium with its own problems.
After the Yankees (5-8) managed just three hits, committed three fielding errors and walked seven opposing batters in a lifeless loss to the Rays (6-8) — who snapped a three-game skid — manager Aaron Boone was direct with his players.
“I’ve already addressed the team,” he said, before getting asked about what was discussed. “That’s for in there.”
LF Clint Frazier did not go into detail on the meeting, but the message certainly seemed to be received entering a quick turnaround with a 1:05 p.m. game Saturday.
“Obviously, (Boone) addressing us means that we need to play better,” said Frazier, who went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts, among six hitless Yankees. “And I think everyone took the thought of, ‘We have to come tomorrow to the ballpark tomorrow ready to go because the team that we’re playing is going to come ready to go as well.’
“So I’m not going to get into everything that he said, but we need to come ready to go tomorrow and that was the message that I took from it.”
After a 3-2 start, the wheels started to come off last Wednesday with a 4-3 defeat against the Baltimore Orioles in 11 innings. Three-game series losses at the Rays and Toronto Blue Jays followed, but an uninspiring start to the latest set with Tampa Bay puts New York in a hole.
“We know that we’re the best team talent-wise — or if not, whatever, the top three, whatever — and we know it will all come together,” said RHP Michael King, who fired three scoreless innings with two hits and four strikeouts to three walks. “It’s definitely frustrating to start the year like this, starting over a speed bump. And once we go over this, I’ve got a lot of confidence in it, in this club. … Everybody’s got a lot of confidence in the team we’re putting out there, but it just hasn’t clicked yet — but I know it will.”
Frazier echoed King’s sentiments, keeping in mind that the Yankees are 13 battles into a 162-game war.
“Our track record,” Frazier said. “We have a lot of really good players that have performed really well for a long time — and it’s, what, the 13th game? — so … obviously, you want to perform better, collectively and individually, but things happen. And like I said, we have a lot of guys with a lot of great track records that I think can prove that we’re going to get out of this.”
The expectations are understood, but a rematch with ace RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-0, 0.46 ERA) does not make life easier.
“I think any time you have an offense like we do — and we expect a lot of ourselves — and it’s not clicking, usually, that has a look of being off or lacking energy, when you’re not swinging the bats like you’re capable of up and down,” said Boone, who is sending LHP Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 3.27 ERA) out to avoid a season-high four-game skid for the Yankees. “And then you’re going through some adversity and you’re having a tough week where you’re struggling to get it together and all of a sudden you misplay a couple plays and the game gets out of hand, that’s frustrating. But as we talk about all the time, we know adversity is coming for you at some point in the season. It’s knocking on our door right now, and we’ve got to answer it.”