Luis Severino (308645)
Credit: Wikipedia

When the New York Yankees take the field at Fenway Park tomorrow night for the start of a three-game weekend series against the Boston Red Sox, a key question will be, which Yankee team is showing up?

Will the Yankee team that defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-0 last Friday at the Stadium show up, or will it be the Yankees that defeated the Texas Rangers 7-1 in the Bronx on Tuesday?

The outings against Cleveland, which included an 11-3 loss on Saturday and a 11-1 pounding by the Indians on Sunday, aren’t the kind of terrible performances a team in a tight race for the playoffs can afford. Going into last night’s game at home against the Rangers, the Yankees were 85-67 and trailed the Boston Red Sox by 1.5 games and the Toronto Blue Jays by a half game for one of the two American League wildcard spots.

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez couldn’t catch a foul pop-up near the plate on Saturday in the fifth inning, which led to seven Cleveland runs. Ace pitcher Gerrit Cole, who’ll pitch this weekend, was rocked by Cleveland batters on Sunday, giving up seven runs in 5 2/3 innings.

“We got to do better than this,” said Yank manager Aaron Boone on Sunday. “That’s an awful couple of days out there, and we got to get past it in a hurry.”

If not, Boone understands that they won’t make it to the postseason, with nine games, three apiece, versus the Red Sox, Blue Jays and eventual AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays ahead to end the regular season.

“We got to go and play a complete game like we did Friday night,” an 8-0 win over Cleveland “but we can’t do that every two, every three games. We got to play really good baseball if we’re even going to think about being where we want to be.”

A boost for the Yankees was the return of pitcher Luis Severino, who on Tuesday made his first appearance since having Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020. The 27-year-old righty entered the game in the eighth and threw two shutout innings.

“Proud moment for him, for his teammates and for all of us,” said Boone. “Worked his tail off to get to this moment.”