By all accounts the Yankees’ champagne toast Sunday night at the team hotel in Buffalo after clinching a postseason spot was very mild due to COVID-19 protocols.
Judging how the Yankees played Monday night somebody should check to make sure it was only bubbly in those bottles.
“It was pretty much [Aaron] Boone congratulating us and saying there is more work to be done,’’ DJ LeMahieu said of the manager’s message to his club before Monday night’s 11-5 loss to the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo.
Included in that work detail is trying to secure the fourth seed in the upcoming AL playoffs and home-field advantage in the first round. If Monday evening’s performance is an example of what the final six games of the season are going to look like it will be an unsightly way to roll into the postseason.
Michael King and Jonathan Loaisiga combined to give up nine runs in less than four innings. Loaisiga waited until the bases were loaded in the fourth before he asked for his rosin bag to be brought to the mound. Gary Sanchez was charged with catcher’s interference.
Add in the Yankees’ bats going soft and it made for a miserable nine innings on the way to an ugly blowout defeat that was made to look a little nicer by a three-run ninth inning.
The 31-23 Yankees’ second straight loss after a 10-game winning streak dropped them 1 ½ lengths back of the Twins in the race for the fourth seed with six to go. The fourth seed hosts all games in the best-of-three first round against the fifth seed. The 33-22 Twins were idle.
The second-place Yankees’ loss combined with the AL East-leading Rays beating the Mets dropped the Rays’ magic number to one over the Yankees to clinch the AL East title.
Mike Tauchman’s three-run double in the ninth made the loss look better than it really was.
King gave up five runs in 2 ²/₃ innings and Loaisiga five runs (four earned) in one inning.
Sahlen Field has quickly turned into a nightmare for the Yankees, who have lost three of four at the Blue Jays’ Triple-A home. Of course this was the same team the Yankees swept three from last week at Yankee Stadium where they outscored the Blue Jays, 43-15.
Chad Green, who last pitched on Friday, entered the game in the sixth with the Yankees trailing, 10-1, because Nick Nelson had reached 52 pitches in two innings. Green gave up a homer to 21-year-old catcher Alejandro Kirk, who went 4-for-4.