(Yankees Manager Aaron Boone arguing Friday night)
The Yankees suffered an 11-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday at The Stadium to split their four-game series.
On the seven-game homestand, they went 3-4 overall because they started the week by losing two of three to the Chicago White Sox.
This is absolutely inexcusable, as they had two week opponents in town, with each team an identical 55-82 through Sunday.
The Yankees missed a golden opportunity to all but lock up home field in the wild card game and also remain relevant in the American League East race, where they trail Boston by 7-1/2 games.
As it is, the Yankees are five games ahead of the Oakland A’s for home-field in the Wild Card game. They head out west for a three-game set in Oakland Monday night, followed by three in Seattle, who is 4-1/2 behind Oakland, starting Friday night.
If you go back two weeks ago, after the Yankees did what they were supposed to in destroying the Toronto Blue Jays in a weekend series, it looked like they would keep it going as they embarked on a 13-games stretch against four of the worst teams in baseball, with two in Miami and four in Baltimore, followed by seven at home (three with Chicago and four against Detroit).
After they split the two in Miami and then swept Baltimore, they cut Boston’s division lead to 6-1/2 games, sparking hope that the race wasn’t over.
Instead of then, let’s say, winning five or six of the following seven at home, they were lucky to take three.
Against Chicago, they went meekly, 6-2, on Monday, then had to come from four runs down to beat the White Sox, 5-4, on Tuesday before a listless 4-1 defeat on Wednesday.
Against Detroit Thursday night, in a see-saw game, they took a 7-5 lead into the ninth only to see current closer Dellin Betances give up a pair of home runs in the ninth leading to an 8-7 loss.
Friday night’s game was a wild affair in which both managers, Detroit’s Ron Gardenhire and the Yankees’ Aaron Boone, were ejected and the Yankees scored three in the bottom of the eighth to eke out an 8-7 win.
Saturday, the Yankees beat Detroit 2-1 on the strength of a Gleyber Torres home run and a solid start from Masahiro Tanaka. They won this one despite breaking through for just two hits against Detroit starter Daniel Norris and the Detroit bullpen.
The homestand closed on Sunday with a dispirting loss, as Lance Lynn lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and a walk, with six strikeouts, in his worst outing as a Yankee since he was acquired in late July.
The big blow came right after Lynn left in the fourth, as Nicholas Castellanos hit a two-run shot to cap a five-run frame that made it 7-2 Tigers.
The Yankees did get a run back in the bottom of the fourth on a Luke Voit solo home run, but Victor Reyes hit a solo shot of his own in the sixth to make it 8-3 Detroit.
In the eighth, Miguel Andujar got an RBI single to cut it to 8-4, but then Gary Sanchez grounded into a fielder’s choice and Gleyber Torres walked to load the bases with one out.
Victor Alcantara came in to face Voit, and he struck him out.
Neil Walker then lined one off Alcantara’s glove that brought in a run that made it 8-5.
The inning concluded with pinch-hitter Greg Bird hitting one to the warning track, missing a grand slam by a few feet.
Detroit rallied for a few in the ninth against Yankees call-up Stephen Tarpley that made it 11-5, and that proved to be too much for the Yankees to overcome.
The Yankees got a pair in the bottom of the ninth, but the game ended with Voit striking out looking with two on base. Even though Voit hit a solo home run early, he struck out twice in the final two innings and left five guys on base.
Andrew McCutchen was 0-for-4 on Sunday in his second game in pinstripes, so he is still looking for his first hit as a Yankee.