The New York Yankees began Thursday by blowing a four-run lead to the Los Angeles Angels in a stunning loss. Around 10 hours later, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner absolved manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman of any blame for the team’s inconsistent performance so far.
Instead, Steinbrenner put the onus on his players, who will attempt to get things turned around Friday night when the Yankees host the New York Mets in the opener of the Subway Series.
“The majority of the responsibility, whether it’s the responsibility of inconsistent offense or bad baserunning, etc., that responsibility lies with the players,” Steinbrenner said. “They’re the ones on the field, right? They’re a group of very talented, professional athletes that are playing this game at the highest level in the world. They need to fix this problem.
“They need to fix the problem because everyone — including our fan base, rightfully so — has had enough, quite frankly. It’s enough.”
It will be the first Subway Series game in front of a crowd since July 3, 2019, when 43,323 fans watched the Yankees get a 5-1 win at Citi Field to improve their record to 55-29 en route to 103 victories. Each of the six games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season was decided by three runs or fewer, and five of those games took place in the Bronx due to the Mets’ COVID-19 issues.
This time, the Yankees begin the series on an 83-win pace after falling to 41-39 with an 11-8 loss to the Angels in a game that lasted nearly six hours due to two rain delays. The Yankees postponed their Thursday afternoon game due to a rainy forecast shortly after Steinbrenner began a lengthy session with reporters to discuss the state of the team.
“It’s absolutely aggravating, maddening,” Steinbrenner said. “It has been tough to watch and the players know that. They’re better than this.”
The Yankees seemed to recover from a 6-11 start by winning 22 of 30 games to get to nine games over .500. Since completing a three-game sweep against the Chicago White Sox on May 23, they are 13-20 and have lost five of six, including a three-game sweep last weekend in Boston.
The Mets won eight of 10 games from June 5-16 to move 10 games over .500, but they are 6-11 since. During those 17 games, the Mets have been blanked four times and have scored three runs or fewer 11 times, including a 4-3 loss to the host Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
Dominic Smith homered twice after Jacob deGrom struck out 14 while yielding three runs in seven innings, but the Mets lost when Seth Lugo allowed an infield single in the ninth.
“It’s frustrating,” deGrom said. “You definitely wanted to come in and win the series and we weren’t able to do it, but we’ve got to go play good baseball (Friday). So, it’s definitely frustrating, especially with how we lost in the ninth.”
Yankees left-hander Jordan Montgomery (3-4, 4.06 ERA), who is 0-1 with a 4.43 ERA over his past four starts, will be on the mound Friday. He last pitched Saturday, when he allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 4-2 loss to the Red Sox.
Montgomery’s only previous start against the Mets was Aug. 28 in the first game of a doubleheader, when he allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in five innings in a no-decision.
Taijuan Walker (6-3, 2.38 ERA) will start for the Mets. He has allowed two runs or less 11 times, including June 25, when he allowed one run and three hits in five innings in a no-decision against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Walker is 0-3 with a 3.26 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees, who rocked him for seven runs (one earned) and six hits in 1 2/3 innings in a 20-6 win on Sept. 15, when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays.
–Field Level Media