Frustration peaks as Yankees suffer agonizing loss to White Sox

Yankees starter Gerrit Coles looks frustrated after his bad outing vs. the White Sox in Chicago on August 7, 2023.

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The Yankees’ 5-1 loss in Chicago on Monday goes down in their 2023 history as one of the most frustrating defeats and this was clearly visible in their dugout. They remained hitless for over five innings against White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease and their offense saw another lowest moment. Their reliable ace failed short of his own standard while the manager’s comical ejection underlined the day.

Yankees fans have so many games that ended in utter frustration for them and their team this season. With numerous instances of the lineup struggling and falling short, singling out the most cheerless one is difficult. Nevertheless, if forced to decide, their performance on Monday would certainly be a strong contender.

The intense outburst from Aaron Boone toward home plate umpire Laz Diaz on Monday evening mirrored the frustration that many Yankees fans share regarding the team’s condition, particularly concerning the offense.

The Yankees managed to scrape together a single run against Chicago’s struggling bullpen, all the while their own bullpen struggled, in the opening game of a crucial road trip. Both Diaz and the Yankee’s batting order had a less than impressive performance at the plate, although the latter’s struggles were more connected to Boone’s team enduring yet another disheartening loss.

It’s almost amusing to observe the numerous chances the Yankees let slip away against an average pitching roster that’s been marred by controversy this week and lacks depth following last week’s trade deadline.

The Yankees managed only one hit in twelve attempts with runners in scoring position, leaving a total of 13 runners on base. Taking into account the exasperating defeat against the Astros on Sunday, this marks the initial instance since April 2016 that the Yankees have left 12 or more runners stranded in consecutive games.

Yankees’ frustrating loss of chances

In a game where they remained hitless for the first 5 ¹/₃ innings and found themselves with loaded bases on three occasions, the Yankees persisted in wasting chances, resulting in a 5-1 loss to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Their performance with runners in scoring position was a mere 1-for-12, and this defeat pushed them to a 5 ½ game deficit in the race for the last playoff berth, with 49 games remaining in the season.

Despite drawing seven walks against a right-handed pitcher who had struggled with a 6.37 ERA over his last six starts, the Yankees couldn’t convert any of those opportunities into runs. By the end of the game, they had earned a total of eight walks, yet none of those baserunners managed to cross home plate. It took until the sixth inning for the Yankees to finally record a hit off Dylan Cease, even though they had already walked seven times by that point. In the second inning, Cease loaded the bases with no outs but skillfully evaded giving up any runs.

Following LeMahieu’s hit that led to Dylan Cease’s removal from the game in the sixth inning, the Yankees capitalized by loading the bases once more, this time with just one out.

However, when pinch-hitter Isiah Kiner-Falefa stepped up, he lifted a shallow fly ball to right field, and Jake Bauers followed with a sharply hit ground ball toward first base. Andrew Vaughn made a remarkable diving stop and managed to outrun Bauers to the base, securing the crucial third out.

Boone acknowledged after the game that they had opportunities throughout the evening but weren’t able to take advantage of them. He mentioned that he appreciates the fact that they’ve been generating chances for themselves more recently. He also emphasized the need to convert those opportunities into runs moving forward.

During the second inning, despite starting off with three consecutive walks, the Yankees couldn’t manage to bring any runs home. Anthony Volpe and Ben Rortvedt both had pop-outs, followed by Jake Bauers grounding out near the pitcher’s mound.

During the sixth inning, the Yankees filled the bases with consecutive singles, yet failed to convert the opportunity. Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was substituted in, had a pop-out, and then Jake Bauers had a potential hit thwarted by a remarkable play from White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn (who had previously hit a home run against starting pitcher Gerrit Cole).

During the seventh inning, the Yankees initiated the frame with the bases loaded and succeeded in scoring a run through a sacrifice fly by Billy McKinney. Nonetheless, they left two runners on base, as both LeMahieu and Harrison Bader struck out to conclude the inning.

Cole’s frustrating outing

Gerrit Cole expressed that the situation is manageable, mentioning that mounds come in various sizes and the objective remains to reach the top, regardless of the challenges encountered.

Monday demonstrated that even someone as skilled as Cole cannot always rescue the Yankees from their difficult situations. Gerrit Cole gave up four runs during his seven-inning performance in the Yankees’ defeat against the White Sox on Monday evening.

The star pitcher came into the game with a perfect 9-0 record when starting following a Yankees’ defeat, but he surrendered a two-run homer to Vaughn in the second inning, which ultimately proved to be the deciding factor.

Later in the game, Cole allowed consecutive singles at the start of the eighth inning, and those runners later crossed the plate against Tommy Kahnle.

Cole expressed, It’s a challenging journey. Throughout the year, there will be moments of success and setbacks. We’re continuously striving for that significant positive turn. The potential for it is within reach, and that’s what we’re committed to pursuing.

On Monday, Cole was handed his third defeat of the season. The star pitcher went beyond seven innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits, issuing two walks, and tallying three strikeouts.

Inquired about the 5 ½ game gap, Cole responded, “It’s achievable. Mountains come in various sizes. The objective is to reach the summit, no matter the effort required.”

Boone’s frustrating ejection

Aaron Boone in action against the White Sox.
AP

Although Diaz didn’t directly cause their loss, the Yankees were dissatisfied with his interpretation of the strike zone throughout the game.

The tension escalated in the eighth inning of the close 2-1 game when Boone was thrown out by Diaz after a called strike three against Anthony Volpe. Boone’s frustration with Diaz reached its peak as he imitated the strikeout call and used gestures to illustrate pitches that he believed were off the plate.

Boone conveyed his frustration, stating that he was quite upset after his sixth ejection this season. He noted the instance with Gleyber Torres‘ first at-bat, where Torres walked on what Boone felt were several balls, and he believed similar situations persisted throughout the game. Boone emphasized that the team still needed to find a way to overcome such challenges and capitalize on their opportunities. He emphasized that the focus shouldn’t be solely on umpiring but on their ability to seize chances.

Boone also highlighted the situation involving DJ LeMahieu during the seventh inning, where there was one out and runners positioned on the corners following Billy McKinney’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly that narrowed the Yankees’ deficit to 2-1.

LeMahieu faced a three-pitch at-bat, during which he observed two pitches outside the strike zone that were called for strikes by the umpire. As a result, the Yankees were unable to capitalize and left the potential tying run stranded at third base.

Boone mentioned that they had been expressing their dissatisfaction with Diaz’s performance throughout the game, which he believed was justified. He expressed his hope that his prolonged discussion with Diaz, during which Diaz was responding in kind, would not result in a suspension.

After this demoralizing defeat, the Yankees find themselves trailing the third Wild Card position by 5 1/2 games, which marks their largest gap from playoff contention throughout this season. They have slipped back to the bottom of the AL East standings, a position they held briefly ahead of the Red Sox for two days.

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