The New York Yankees‘ second-half struggles continued on Friday night as they lost a 9-0 boat race (box score) to the Tampa Bay Rays. The defeat drops the Yankees to 15-25 since the All-Star Game, including a 10-19 stretch since the start of August. More importantly, New York’s lead over the Rays in the American League East is now just five games. The Yankees were ahead by 10 games as recently as mid-August, and at one point in July they led the division by more than 15 games.
Predictably, Yankees manager Aaron Boone was none too happy with his team’s performance on Friday night.
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“It’s just embarrassing when you get beat like that and you’re going through the struggles you are,” Boone said to reporters after the loss, per ESPN. “I’m in charge of this team. What we’re going through right now, I know better than anyone. There’s going to be hard moments and hard times. I do think the effort’s there. I think the care is there. But we’ve set a much better standard in that room that we’ve got to start living up to.”
New York’s lineup has been one of the major culprits for their recent ineptitude. For perspective, consider that the Yankees’ lineup ranks third in the majors in wRC+, a catch-all metric hosted at FanGraphs that adjusts for ballpark and other variables. Yet they rank 23rd in that category since the beginning of August.
Here’s a look at how the Yankees’ most-used hitters have performed since Aug. 1.
Put another way, the Yankees have scored just 101 runs (or 3.5 per) in that span, the fifth-fewest in the majors. Indeed, Friday marked the sixth time in 29 games the Yankees have been shut out. During that stretch, they’ve also been held to two runs or fewer on seven other occasions. Combined, that accounts for 13 of their 29 contests.
The Yankees have homered 28 times as a team since Aug. 1. Aaron Judge, who is attempting to break Roger Maris’ franchise record, is responsible for nine of those.
Despite all the above, and despite the struggles of their middle-infield options, Boone and the Yankees do not seem in a rush to introduce fresh blood to the lineup. The Yankees promoted shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza to the majors on Thursday as part of September’s roster expansion to 28 players, yet he did not start on Friday. Instead, Boone told reporters that “he’ll get some opportunities, but I don’t want to put any undue expectations on him.”
The Yankees will continue their weekend series against the Rays on Saturday. A loss would reduce their lead to four games with 29 remaining to play.