Luis Gil’s ‘very encouraging’ return fails to rescue Yankees from ‘terrible’ loss

New York Yankees’ Luis Gil reacts after the third out during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

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Two phrases by manager Aaron Boone aptly summarize the New York Yankees’ 3-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday and depict their state of affairs amid a brutal slide. While he called Luis Gil‘s performance “very encouraging,” the skipper branded the loss as “terrible.”

Gil’s performance against the Red Sox marked a return to form for the young right-hander, albeit with a slightly altered approach. Boone described Gil’s outing as “a very encouraging part of a tough end to a tough series.”

The Yankees pitcher, who had struggled in his previous three starts after a strong start to the season, allowed just one run on a Rafael Devers homer, giving up four hits and striking out nine over 6 2/3 innings. This performance came amid questions about his stamina and effectiveness in his first full season following Tommy John surgery.

The 26-year-old pitcher adjusted his strategy, relying heavily on his fastball and slider while significantly reducing the use of his changeup, which had been a key pitch earlier in the season. Gil explained through an interpreter that he had focused on executing good fastballs throughout the week.

Boone particularly praised Gil’s slider, describing it as the best they’ve seen from him. This adjustment in pitch selection seems to have contributed to the Yankees star’s improved performance.

Despite the loss, Gil’s strong outing provided a positive note for the Yankees, potentially putting him back on track after his recent struggles.

Regarding Luis Gil’s performance, Boone commended the pitcher despite the team’s loss. Gil’s only major mistake was his penultimate pitch, a 98.8-mph fastball that Rafael Devers hit for a go-ahead home run. The Yankees pitcher acknowledged the harsh reality of the league, where a single misplaced pitch can be costly against top-tier hitters.

New York Yankees’ Luis Gil reacts after the third out during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

A terrible loss for the Yankees

The New York Yankees’ brief resurgence, highlighted by Ben Rice’s historic three-homer game on Saturday, quickly dissipated with a 3-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday night. In front of 45,250 fans at Yankee Stadium, the team’s ongoing struggles were on full display.

Manager Aaron Boone expressed significant disappointment with the team’s performance, stressing — “it feels terrible” — the importance of overcoming this challenging stretch. The defeat dropped the Yankees to a 55-37 record, now trailing the Baltimore Orioles by three games in the AL East.

The Yankees’ offensive woes were apparent as they were shut out for the sixth time this season, just a day after scoring 14 runs. Ben Rice, coming off his record-setting performance, went hitless in four at-bats, striking out twice.

Red Sox pitcher Kutter Crawford stifled the Yankees’ lineup, delivering seven scoreless innings on just 68 pitches, allowing only four hits and no walks. Juan Soto noted that Crawford made some mistakes that the Yankees failed to capitalize on.

This loss extended the Yankees’ series winless streak to seven, a slump that began in mid-June in Boston. The team has now lost 16 of their last 22 games, highlighting their continued struggles to regain their early-season form.

Rafael Devers continued his dominance against the Yankees, further solidifying his reputation as a “Yankees Killer.”

The defeat underscores the Yankees’ pressing challenges and the urgent need for a turnaround as they slip further behind in the divisional race.

The Yankees’ offense faltered against the Red Sox, squandering limited opportunities and prompting disappointment from Manager Aaron Boone, particularly after Juan Soto’s seventh-inning double failed to spark a rally.

Aaron Judge endured a tough night, striking out three times, while DJ LeMahieu pointed out the high number of quick outs, with the team’s top six batters collectively going 1-for-21.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge reacts after striking out against the Boston Red Sox during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 7, 2024, in New York.
AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

Boone’s decision to keep Gil on the mound to face Rafael Devers backfired, echoing a similar scenario with Gerrit Cole the previous day. Devers broke the scoreless tie with a seventh-inning home run off Gil, who was promptly removed from the game.

This loss underscored the Yankees’ persistent offensive woes and cast a spotlight on Boone’s pitching decisions during critical moments.

After replacing Gil, Weaver also struggled, allowing a home run to Ceddanne Rafaela in the eighth inning. Devers later hit his second homer of the game off Michael Tonkin, increasing his career total against the Yankees to 28, the most among active players.

Despite the loss, Gil showed notable improvement from his recent performances, hitting 99.3 mph with his fastball and striking out nine batters without issuing any walks over 6 2/3 innings. This outing alleviated some concerns about his arm fatigue following Tommy John surgery.

However, Gil’s strong performance was overshadowed by the Yankees’ ongoing offensive struggles, reminiscent of their June and July slump.

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