Woo is Key, Mariners Take Second Straight from Yanks

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Please don’t panic because the Yankees have lost two consecutive games in the Bronx for the first time this season. Then again, after a seven game winning streak that was snapped Monday evening the Yankees were due for a mini losing streak.

Remember the old baseball and sports credo, “You can’t win them all.” After their 6-3 loss to the Mariners Tuesday evening, the Yankees still hold the best record in the American League (33-17), second best in baseball. Approaching Memorial Day, usually the quarter pole and indicator, the Yankees are in great shape.

They pitch well, and overall, their hitting and scoring runs come in bunches. But Mariners starting pitcher Bryan Woo only allowed two hits over six innings, while striking out seven. Last June, he threw 5 and 1/3 innings for his first Major League win against the Yankees. The Yankees could do nothing with his fastball. Aaron Judge was limited to a walk and Juan Soto struck out two times.

Except for a seventh inning Gleyber Torres three-run homer, his third of the season, the Yankees could not pull this one out. They did not get that come from behind hit in a ninth inning rally where they did bring the tying run to the plate, and during that winning streak they got the lead early and tacked on runs.

The Yankees are expected to have a losing pattern at some point and perhaps losing consecutive ball games at home for the first time this season is a taste of adversity. The Mariners used the home run ball four times, including two from Dylan Moore.

But the Yankees second straight loss to the Mariners is just a bump in the road. Good teams like the Yankees can overcome this minor bump so there is no reason to panic, though losing three-in-a-row has not been their M-O this season.

Tonight, Nestor Cortes will take his turn on the mound. The left-hander got the win last Friday evening in the Bronx against the White Sox with seven-innings of one run ball.

For sure, the Yankees don’t consider this two-game skid a slump, though starter Clarke Schmidt lasted only five innings and gave up the home run ball to Dylan Moore in the third inning. Their season high seven-game winning streak was snapped Monday night in the Bronx, a 5-4 loss to Seattle.

Yankees pitchers allowed five runs in that loss, still a good reflection of a staff that has held opponents to three runs or fewer in 31 of their 49 games. The staff ERA (2.68 ERA) leads the majors.

Again, no reason for a concern, though Schmidt did admit he was tipping his pitches and made adjustments in between innings. It resulted in deep counts and close to 70 pitches thrown by the third inning,

I had a game plan,” Schmidt said. “Credit to them fouling off pitches and driving deep counts. Really happy to make some adjustments.”

He said the fastball was off for an inning-and -a-half, but the Mariners were able to seize their moment before Schmidt made his adjustments in the fourth inning.

The Yankees could not take advantage of their limited chances. Oswaldo Cabrera ended a ninth inning rally and come-from-behind game tying opportunity, something that was not needed during their recent winning streak.

No reason to panic. Every team has these bumps in the road, though this one is minor and they hope that it won’t become a three game skid tonight.

Recently it has been a struggle for Torres. Compared to the Yankees lineup of Judge, Soto, Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Verdugo, Anthony Rizzo, Anthony Volpe, and Jose Trevino, who all played a hand during the winning streak, Torres’ at-bats had limited impact.

The home run may have come too late for the Yankees, but a longball by Torres is a good sign.

Just to put the ball in play in that situation, I am looking for a fastball,” Torres said. “Hopefully tomorrow, one day at a time working. I’m just trying to be more consistent.”

Back to Schmidt and a 42 percent strikeout rate on the knuckle curve that he has added to his repertoire He recorded five strikeouts through 2 2/3 innings. The Moore two-run homer to left went two rows back, a 3-2 cutter down the middle. Moore’s 4-RBI night included a run scoring single in the 7th and a second home run in the ninth. 

Obviously every time I go out there it’s a learning experience,” said Schmidt. “If you are aware of it and pinpoint it. They did a really good job of executing their plan. It’s a part of baseball.”

But no cause to panic with this brief two game slide because indeed this is a part of baseball. Schmidt is confident he made the adjustments and the Yankees are known to rebound after a loss (11-4 this season after a loss). Their longest losing streak is three (mid April) and two consecutive losses at home is rare.

Consider also Woo who has pitched well this season and kept the Yankees off the board. 

Elite fastball,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone about Woo (2-0). The manager sensed this was a night for the Mariners pitcher and there is no reason to panic during this mini losing streak.

However l,osing two in a row has not been prevalent in the Yankees repertoire this season. They will try to avoid losing a series and that starts tonight with Cortes on the mound.

Rich Mancuso: X (Formerly Twitter) @Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and BoxingInsider.com, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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