The Yankees are 5.5 back of Boston after a 3-2, 10-inning loss on Sunday night baseball. “It’s a frustrating loss,” Joe Girardi said. “We were in position to win.”
Rafael Devers tied the game with a ninth inning homer off Aroldis Chapman to tie it, and Andrew Benintendi’s RBI single in the 10th put Boston ahead.
The Yankees are now 13-21 in one-run games, an especially surprising stat considering how many talented arms are in the bullpen. Even if they played .500 ball in one-run games, the division race would look a lot different.
It was the 20th blown save by the Yankee bullpen. “When you hear ‘blown save’ it sounds like it’s 20 in the ninth inning,” Girardi said. “We went through a hard time in the bullpen. It was about the time Adam went down in June. Obviously we’ve been better in closing out games since we’ve made additions and guys have gotten back on track. So, I mean I think that can be a misleading number. It makes it sound like it’s 20 in the ninth inning, and that would be an issue.”
The Yankees are 53-3 when leading after eight innings but Girardi is correct about the mid-June swoon by the bullpen. There were walk-off losses at the hands of the Angels and A’s. There were two one-run losses to the White Sox, including one in walk-off fashion. And a late lead blown in a 7-6 loss to the Astros.
The early July loss when Dellin Betances walked four Blue Jays in one inning. And the first game after the All-Star break when the Red Sox rallied in the ninth against Chapman.
It’s not totally fair to put the blame on a bullpen that has a MLB best 1.94 ERA since the All-Star break.
There have been games where starting pitchers put the team in an early hole, and games where the Yankees couldn’t deliver with runners in scoring position.
New York went 24-12 in one-run games last season with the Betances/Miller/Chapman trio embarrassing hitters early in the season. It should be noted that the 2015 team made the playoffs while going 23-24 in one-run games.
Despite the loss, the Yankees are still leading the Wild Card race and even the division isn’t out of reach with 46 games still to play.
But the Yankees will have to play better in one run games.