About three hours before the New York Yankees threw a pitch to Shohei Ohtani on Monday, manager Aaron Boone offered a blunt assessment of his inconsistent team situation.
“Our season’s on the line,” Boone said. “Too many ups and downs. We’re in too good a division to have those ups and downs obviously continue.”
Then Ohtani hit his latest homer, and the Yankees were on their way to another loss, 5-3 to the visiting Los Angeles Angels. The Yankees will attempt to halt a four-game skid Tuesday night in the second game of the four-game series.
The Yankees reached nine games over .500 on May 23 when they completed a three-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox, but since then they are 12-19, a stretch that has mirrored their 6-11 start at times.
Monday’s loss came after the Yankees were swept by the Boston Red Sox. Ohtani hit his 26th homer, tying him with Toronto Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for the major league lead.
“We gotta go out and do it,” Boone said after the Yankees were held to six hits against the Angels. “We can throw out all the sayings. Talk is cheap. We gotta go do it, and as disappointing as it is and as frustrating as we are to not grab this first one — especially coming off the weekend we had — we gotta go play tomorrow and try and dig ourselves out of this.”
Gio Urshela and Giancarlo Stanton homered Monday, but the Yankees were held to three runs or fewer for the 41st time through their first 78 games.
“We just haven’t showed up every night,” Stanton said. “We’ll have spurts of it. This game, these seasons, this uniform isn’t about spurts. It’s about showing up every night. So we just gotta pick it up.”
The Angels will be trying to get a third straight win after dropping five straight, and Ohtani’s latest homer gave him 11 this month. He is two shy of the team record for homers in June held by Tim Salmon (1996) and Albert Pujols (2015).
“That was just the right way for him to start his trip to New York, with him hitting a home run,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said of Ohtani, whose home run was hit first hit in Yankee Stadium.He is now 1-for-14 in four games at the stadium.
Ohtani, who will pitch Wednesday, enters Tuesday’s game having reached base safely in 19 of his past 21 games.
New York’s Jameson Taillon (2-4, 5.18 ERA), who is coming off his best start of the season, seeks to win consecutive starts for the first time since winning four straight starts for the Pittsburgh Pirates from Aug. 25-Sept. 12, 2018.
Taillon ended an eight-start winless streak Thursday when he allowed one run on five hits in 6 1/3 innings during an 8-1 win over the Kansas City Royals. Before that start, he was 0-2 with a 5.80 ERA since his other win on May 1 against the Detroit Tigers.
Taillon is facing the Angels for the first time and hopes to have better success against Ohtani than did Michael King, who allowed a homer on an 80 mph curveball.
Los Angeles left-hander Andrew Heaney (4-5, 4.72) looks to avoid a third straight loss. After going 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA from May 25-June 8, Heaney has allowed eight runs on 15 hits spanning 11 innings against the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, respectively.
Heaney is 1-1 with a 3.47 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees. He last opposed the Yankees on Sept. 19, 2019, in New York when he allowed six runs on five hits in five innings and took the loss.
–Field Level Media