While the New York Yankees are trying to recover from their worst 15-game start since 1997, the Atlanta Braves are feeling somewhat better about the injury status of star Ronald Acuna Jr.
The Yankees look to snap a five-game losing streak Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game series against the visiting Braves, who may be without Acuna. He is day-to-day with a mild abdominal strain.
It is the eighth time in team history the Yankees have dropped at least 10 of their first 15 games and fourth instance since 1970. In the previous three instances the Yankees recovered to post winning records and in 1997 they won nine of the next 12 to get over .500 for good and win 96 games.
Over the weekend, the Yankees mustered 11 hits and struck out 37 times in a three-game sweep against the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I’m frustrated, personally frustrated,” New York’s DJ LeMahieu said.
The latest loss was a 4-2 setback Sunday when New York was held to three hits. That loss is part of a 2-8 skid since April 6, a slide during which the Yankees have been outscored 53-33 while batting .194 with 94 strikeouts.
“Right now, we would be a team that an opponent would want to play because we’re not firing on all cylinders,” New York GM Brian Cashman said Monday. “Our strengths are obviously not showing themselves right now, so if you had a time to catch us right now, you’re catching us at the right time through yesterday’s game.”
Atlanta is coming off a 13-4 win over the host Chicago Cubs on Sunday night when it hit four of its season-high five homers in the first inning. The power display was put on the backburner when Acuna was injured in the fourth diving back to first base on a pickoff attempt.
Acuna stayed in the game and scored on a sacrifice fly by Travis d’Arnaud but was lifted after the half inning, and Atlanta said the outfielder is experiencing pain in his lower abdominal muscles.
Acuna had an MRI exam Monday and did not appear to be headed to the injured list.
“From what I’ve heard, (Acuna) is doing good,” Atlanta starter Bryse Wilson said. “We’re hoping he’s going to be alright. I haven’t heard anything other than that.”
Acuna is batting .419 with seven homers and 16 RBIs in 16 games. Last season he missed Atlanta’s visit to Yankee Stadium with a wrist injury that landed him on the injured list.
Before Acuna was injured, Freddie Freeman, d’Arnaud, Ehire Adrianza and Guillermo Heredia homered. Heredia also hit a grand slam in the sixth.
New York’s Jameson Taillon (0-1, 7.56 ERA) will make his third start and has experienced mixed results so far. After allowing two runs in 4 2/3 innings in his season debut against Baltimore April 7, Taillon was tagged for five runs in 3 2/3 innings last Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla.
The right-hander’s only previous start against Atlanta was on Aug. 31, 2018 when he allowed two runs in seven innings of a 3-2 win with Pittsburgh.
Charlie Morton (1-1, 4.76 ERA) will face the Yankees for the first time since allowing two runs in five innings of Tampa Bay’s Game 3 win in the 2020 American League Division Series. Morton is 4-2 with a 3.83 ERA in 10 regular-season starts against the Yankees.
The right-hander is coming off his worst start since joining Atlanta when he allowed five runs in six innings and took a no-decision against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday.
–Field Level Media