In recent weeks, the New York Yankees have produced a solid win and followed it up with a dud or a tough loss.
As the games continue to come off the schedule, the Yankees can ill afford more poor performances and hope to recover from an ugly showing Sunday afternoon when they host the Cleveland Indians in the finale of three-game series with ace Gerrit Cole on the mound.
The Yankees (83-66) are 7-14 in their past 21 games since their 13-game winning streak and are coming off an 11-3 loss on Saturday. New York never led and allowed a seven-run fifth after a dropped pop up in foul territory by catcher Gary Sanchez.
New York’s poor performance followed a clean 8-0 win in the series opener when the Yankees tied a season high with five homers. Saturday’s ugly showing dropped the Yankees a half game behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second wild card and 1 1/2 behind the Boston Red Sox for the first spot.
“Whatever games left we have, it’s right in front of us,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We got to win a lot of these games if we’re going to be where we want to be. So yeah; I’d like to roll off however many in a row, especially right now this time of year.
“These losses sting a little bit more, but you also realize the urgency of now tomorrow and we’ve got to get back on the horse and go out and hopefully play a really strong game with our ace going.”
The Yankees might be without slugger Joey Gallo, who exited with neck tightness after the third inning Saturday and is day-to-day.
Cleveland (72-74) has scored double-digit runs in two of its past three games and is looking to take the series after totaling 12 hits and hitting four homers. Yu Chang homered and drove in three runs, Andres Gimenez capped the big inning with a three-run homer, Franmil Reyes homered and drove in three runs, and Jose Ramirez also connected.
Reyes reached 30 homers Saturday and in his past 15 games, he is batting .315 (17-for-54) with six homers and 15 RBIs.
“It was good to see us play that kind of game after yesterday,” Indians interim manager DeMarlo Hale said.
Cole (15-7, 2.75 ERA) is making his second start since a minor hamstring injury Sept. 7 against Toronto. He started seven days later and allowed one run on four hits in five innings in Tuesday’s 7-2 win at Baltimore.
Cole is 5-1 with a 1.35 ERA in six starts since missing more than two weeks recovering from COVID-19.
The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.50 ERA in five career starts against the Indians. In his last outing against them, Cole allowed one run on three hits and struck out 11 in seven innings on April 24 in Cleveland.
Cleveland rookie Eli Morgan (2-7, 6.03) will make his 16th career start. Morgan last pitched on Sept. 10 against the Milwaukee Brewers when he tagged for eight runs (seven earned) and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 10-3 loss. Morgan’s rough outing occurred after he pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings Sept. 4 against Boston.
–Field Level Media