Something happened to the Yankees on their quest to reach the top of the American League East standings. In second place behind the Tampa Bay Rays with the Boston Red Sox close behind they hit a bump in the road after winning 13 games in a row from Aug. 14 to Aug. 27, the franchise’s longest streak in 60 years and the most consecutive wins in Major League Baseball since the Cleveland Indians ran off 22 straight in 2017.
But when they went up against the Los Angeles Angels last night (Wednesday) on the road, the Yankees had lost their last four games and were 76-56, eight games behind the 84-48 Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the American League East and only two games ahead of the 75-59 Boston Red Sox. They Yankees led the Red Sox by two and the Oakland A’s by three games for the top wild card spot. The Red Sox only had a one-game advantage over Oakland for the second position with only two teams making the playoffs as wild cards.
The Yankees’ four losses prior to last night were all close. They were defeated by the A’s on the road 3-2 on Saturday and 3-1 Sunday, then dropped two to the Angels 8-7 and 6-4 this past Monday and Tuesday.
“Our goal doesn’t change. That’s to win the East no matter what,” said Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez through a team interpreter.
Against the Angels on Monday, Giancarlo Stanton tied the game at 5 in the fifth inning with an RBI single, one of his two hits, and tied it again in the seventh inning at 7-7 with a 2-run homer, his 25th of the season.
But it was a two-out single by Juan Lagares off of Yank’s pitcher Clay Holmes in the eighth that drove in the winning run. The Angels Shohei Ohtani, the AL’s leading MVP candidate, who is remarkably a starting pitcher, outfielder and designated hitter, smacked his MLB best 42nd homer of the season in the fifth.
“Losing four in a row is obviously very frustrating, and just unacceptable,” said Yankees veteran outfielder Brett Garner. “We’ve obviously been playing very good baseball for a while now. We’ve been in the games and had opportunities to change the outcome, and just haven’t been able to.”
In Tuesday’s game, the Angels pulled off a double steal in the fifth with Ohtani swiping home. Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, who has had a solid season for the Yankees going 8-5 with a 4.44 ERA took the loss.
The Yankees are off tonight after ending a nine-game, ten-day road trip. They host the Baltimore Orioles beginning tomorrow for three games and then four against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Bronx. Barring a rainout or postponement for other reasons, the Yankees will not get a day off until September 23.