12:41 a.m. ET
NEW YORK – After another lackluster performance by the New York Yankees in their 4-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night, manager Aaron Boone took his team to task.
“We should be pissed off now and start playing better. Plain and simple,” Boone said after the Yankees’ fifth shutout loss in August, most of them in the majors. New York came into the month after being ruled out a total of six times.
“They invest a lot in trying to shake hands at the end of the day and we’ve been able to do that at a really high level overall this year. We’ve entered a rough patch and we need to dig ourselves out,” Boone said. “We can sit here and I can continue to answer questions and talk about it … but we have to do it. And the good news is that we have all the parts in this room to do that. I know this is coming I know it’s gonna happen, but going through it really sucks.
After losing to Toronto in the second matchup of a four-game set, the Yankees went to a 5-12 record in August, holding two runs or fewer in eight of those games. Only two teams, the Nationals (5-12) and the Tigers (4-13), have done so poorly this month.
The Yankees were widely considered baseball’s best team after posting an unreasonable 44-16 (.733) record in their first 60 games of the year. They’ve won 29-31 in their last 60 games and are the first team in MLB history to have a .700 win ratio on their first 60 decisions, only to stay under .500 on their next 60 decisions, according to ESPN Stats research & Information.
And Boone cited that track record when he spoke about his faith in his team.
“We’ve done it most of the year. I have complete faith in this room and these players,” Boone said. “We have more than enough to fight at the moment. But we have to find a way. I don’t care about the number [of games in the divisional lead]. If we play like this and move on at the end of the night, it won’t matter. If we pull ourselves together and play our game, we’ll run away. So eight, nine, ten, seven, five, we gotta play better. We need to start getting some wins. And hopefully that will start tomorrow afternoon.”
Boone was specifically referring to the Yankees’ dwindling lead. On July 8, the Yankees held their largest lead over the AL East by 15.5 games. Friday’s loss to Toronto saw the division lead drop to eight. The last time the Yankees’ lead was this low was after the game on June 10, when they were 7.5 games down.
Infielder DJ LeMahieu, who started both losses to the Jays after missing four games with a sore right toe, admitted the team has been pushing lately, which has contributed to their current slip.
“I don’t have an easy answer, but the last thing we can do is try to do more than we can,” LeMahieu said. “If everyone just does their job of what they are capable of, we will reap a lot of benefits as a unit. But it’s hard to do. Everyone wants to be the guy. But as we’ve all talked about, as a group and individually, just staying within ourselves and having good bats.
The Yankees will look to have much better bats to avoid their third straight loss at home and third straight loss to an AL East rival after losing 2-1 to Boston and Tampa Bay.
The Yankees had an exceptional record against the AL East this season. Their series loss in Boston last Sunday was the first against an AL East team since April 15-17 in Baltimore, breaking a streak of 12 series. After that series loss to the Sox, the Yankees went 1-2 against the Rays before facing the Jays.
The last time the Yankees lost three straight home series was their first three home series of 2019.
“I don’t give a shit [divisional] leadership,” Boone said. “Play better. We take care of this. You can talk about it – eight, nine, seven, ten – we have to play better. If we play like that, it doesn’t matter anyway. We’re doing business, we’re in a great place. We understand that. But we have to get our business in order.”