Yankees Michael King admits mistake in his surprising debacle in Boston

Yankees relief pitcher Michael King is at Fenway Park.

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BOSTON — Michael King, typically known for his exceptional performance in relief, has experienced a downturn in his recent outings, and this unusual slump played a role in the Yankees’ defeat in Game 1 against the Red Sox on Sunday. The reliever conceded that a mistake due to his lack of awareness led to his rare loss of control in Boston.

This is the third instance in his last four appearances when Michael King surrendered runs. On Sunday, he ended up giving up three runs in the sixth inning of the Yankees’ 6-2 loss in the opening game of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway Park.

Michael King admits mistake

The Yankees reliever expressed his frustration with his performance, stating that he struggled to adjust to the opposing team’s approach. Michael King mentioned that many of the hitters were attempting to pull the ball, and he failed to effectively execute his fastball and sliders. The pitcher admitted that he was disappointed with his lack of awareness and the delay in adapting his approach to counter the opposition’s strategy.

“I just didn’t really adjust to their approach. A lot of them were just trying to pull me. I kept throwing fastballs up and sliders that weren’t getting away, and it hurt me. I’m just frustrated with the lack of awareness that I couldn’t change my approach to their approach faster than I did.”

Following his absence in the latter part of the previous season due to an elbow injury, Michael King had successfully regained his position as an important member of the Yankees‘ bullpen this year. Until June 3, he showcased an impressive 1.65 ERA in his initial 19 relief appearances, solidifying his role within the team.

However, in his recent four games, spanning across 5 ²/₃ innings, the 28-year-old right-handed pitcher has struggled, conceding six earned runs.

Yankees relief pitcher Michael King is pitching against the Red Sox at Fenway on June 18, 2023.
Julio Cortez/AP

Michael King entered the game in the fifth inning and successfully retired the final batter after the Red Sox had scored two runs against Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt, bringing the score to a tie of 2-2.

The turning point

After successfully getting the first two batters out in the sixth inning, Michael King faced a challenge when Kike Hernandez reached base with an infield single. Back-to-back doubles off the Green Monster by Connor Wong and Alex Verdugo, followed by an RBI single from Justin Turner, propelled the Boston Red Sox to a 5-2 lead.

Aaron Boone expressed his thoughts on the Hernandez infield single, stating that it was a crucial moment in the game. He acknowledged that Connor Wong’s hit off the wall was unfortunate for the Yankees and contributed to their setback.

According to Aaron Boone, the Yankees have also experienced similar situations where they hit balls that just clear the wall in the right field. He noted that in the first two games against the Red Sox, several balls hit by Boston clipped off the Green Monster. In the case of Alex Verdugo, his hit off the wall contributed to the Red Sox taking the lead. Boone mentioned that after that play, there might have been a slight loss of sharpness, and Connor Wong’s hit was likely a mistake. Overall, Boone identified Wong’s hit as the pivotal moment in the inning that gave the Red Sox the advantage.

A keen understanding of the Red Sox approach and avoiding of the mistake by Michael King could have changed the course.

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