Yankees in must-win mode against Rangers
The look of frustration on Gerrit Cole’s face said it all for the New York Yankees.
Streaky all season, the Yankees endured a lost weekend against the Cleveland Indians and with the games dwindling, they can’t afford many more poor performances, starting Monday night when they host the Texas Rangers in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees (83-67) won 13 straight to take a three-game lead in the wild-card race through games of Aug. 27. They are 7-15 in their past 22 contests and trail the Toronto Blue Jays by 1 1/2 games and the wild card-leading Boston Red Sox by 2 1/2 games.
New York got outscored 22-4 in losing the final two games to Cleveland after hitting five homers in Friday’s 8-0 win. In the final two games, the Yankees gave up 28 hits, including six homers and committed four errors.
Cole was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings Sunday.
“I would assume that we have a lot of true professionals who probably go about their business the same way,” Cole said. “With that said, it still sucks to lose. It still sucks to lose like this. It still sucks to like not really have a clear and concise answer for what the problem is so you can go ahead and fix it.”
In this stretch, the Yankees own nine losses to teams with losing records and Sunday marked the third time since 2016 they allowed double-digit runs in consecutive games.
“We got to do better than this,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That’s an awful couple of days out there, and we got to get past it in a hurry and we got to play well. We got to go and play a complete game like we did Friday night, but we can’t do that every two, every three games. We got to play really good baseball if we’re even going to think about being where we want to be.”
New York played Sunday without Joey Gallo and he is day-to-day for his first meeting with his former team due to neck tightness.
Texas (55-94) is 2-5 in its past seven games and each loss has been by at least five runs. On Sunday, the Rangers took a 7-2 loss to the visiting Chicago White Sox, when they allowed five runs in the fifth inning.
“We’ve got a little ways to go to kind of compete with that. So it was just kind of was a reminder of where we’re at, I guess,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “The effort was there, just the ability to execute, we got outclassed a little bit.”
New York left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. (2-2, 2.60 ERA), who is 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA as a starting pitcher, makes his 12th start and first career start against Texas.
He took a no-decision Wednesday in Baltimore, when he allowed a run on three hits and got a career-high 11 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
AJ Alexy (2-0, 3.68 ERA) will make his third career start and fourth career appearance since joining the Rangers on Aug. 30. Alexy pitched 11 scoreless innings in his first two starts but in a 15-1 loss to Houston on Sept. 13, he was tagged for six runs and four hits in 3 2/3 innings during a relief appearance.