OAKLAND — Thank goodness Aroldis Chapman is coming back on Sunday, because the Yankees’ bullpen has been absolutely atrocious.
Once again, the Bombers’ relievers blew a lead. And once again, the Bombers lost.
Chasen Shreve and Jonathan Holder gave up a combined three runs in the seventh and eighth innings, and the Yankees dropped their new season-high fourth game in a row, 7-6, to the A’s on Friday night at Oakland Coliseum. They are 1-4 on their seven-game West Coast roadtrip. Their AL East lead over the Red Sox is down to one.
“When you look at this, it’s just our bullpen got taxed twice in three days, and I think that’s what’s kind of put it in trouble,” Joe Girardi said. “Of course you miss Chapman, because it makes you’re bullpen longer. But the fact that they threw what 16 innings in three days, it just kind of messed it up. We’re trying to get it back in order.”
Since Chapman (rotator cuff inflammation) went on the disabled list on May 13, Dellin Betances has not allowed a run. But the rest of the relievers have a 4.25 ERA. The Yankees lost late-inning leads on Tuesday night in Anaheim and the last two evenings in Oakland.
“I still believe in these guys,” Girardi said. “They’re not always going to be perfect, we know that. They’re going to have their ups and downs, and right now we’re in a little downturn. But then it will turn back up, and they’ll be really good again.”
Matt Chapman’s first career MLB hit off Holder with one out in the eighth was the go-ahead two-run single. It was a breaking ball that was supposed to be down in the dirt. Instead, it caught too much of the plate.
“It’s tough to swallow,” Holder said. “I just didn’t execute it well enough.”
Shreve and Holder aren’t the only ones struggling. Tyler Clippard has a 5.06 ERA in June, while Adam Warren (4.73 ERA since May 14) was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on Friday afternoon. Both were effective when Chapman was the closer and Dellin Betances (0.42 ERA) was the setup man. But both have struggled in expanded roles.
Betances, who recorded five outs on Thursday night, was unavailable. Clippard would’ve closed in the ninth.
Aaron Judge’s MLB-leading 23rd homer appeared as though it was going to spark a much-needed, come-from-behind victory. Instead, it didn’t. Judge has five homers in his last seven games.
Luis Severino gutted through six innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits – all of which came during a 40-pitch second inning. “His arm slot, he just couldn’t seem to find it (in the second),” Girardi said.
Severino had given up just five earned runs in his previous five starts. Severino had stumbled during a pitch to Chad Pinder in the second, but remained in the game. “He just slipped,” Girardi said.
The Yankees trailed 4-0 heading into the third inning. Enter Aaron Judge. His three-run homer to right — which travelled a pedestrian 379 feet — with two outs in the frame got the Bombers within 4-3.
With the shift on, Ronald Torreyes went from shortstop to foul territory near third and slid to catch a popup from Yonder Alonso with one out in the third inning.
Aaron Judge. Who else? Judge also whacked a 109.9 mph triple with one out in the seventh inning. Some fans chanted “MVP!” after that.
Aaron Judge leads all of baseball with nine opposite-field homers, according to Statcast.
Chris Carter blasted a 430-foot leadoff solo homer in the sixth inning to put the Yankees ahead 5-4. And consistent producer Starlin Castro made it 6-4 with an RBI single with one out in the seventh.
Despite doing a nice job behind the plate, Austin Romine did not have a hit. Chasen Shreve walked Oakland’s No. 9 hitter, Jaycob Brugman, in the seventh inning, and he eventually came around to score.
Saturday at Oakland, 4:05 p.m. ET, Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.07) vs. Jesse Hahn (2-4, 3.56)