|Yankees Manager Aaron Boone. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Yankees returned home on Tuesday night after a road trip in which they went a respectable 3-4 in Minnesota and Boston, but in which their pitchers gave up some pretty historic numbers.
In their prior nine games entering Tuesday, the Yankees scored 67 runs and allowed 84. The 151 runs were their most combined runs over a nine-game span since totaling 155 runs in the final nine games of the 1930 season (September 17-28, 1930).
Yankees pitchers allowed 44 runs in the four games in Boston, the most either club has allowed in a series in the history of that illustrious rivalry.
Despite that, the Yankees still entered Tuesday with a record of 67-38 and an 8-1/2 game lead over Tampa Bay.
Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said, in his pregame press conference on Tuesday afternoon, of what his pitching staff needs to do to get back on track, "Obviously, we're trying to attack everyone individually, and where can we make little improvements, whether it's mechanical things, whether it's things that we're picking up that we're seeing, you know, are there things within the game plan that can be tweaked or adjusted to help them, but then, also, at the same time, not overreacting to - kind of every guy had a rough go one time through, and the fact that it all happened in a week makes it difficult. So, we try to attack all those things and get to the bottom and see where we can help everybody, even if it's on the margins, but we know they're all capable, and I would expect them this time through to go out and pitch well for us - that's what I expect...
"It was a rough week for us. Between Minnesota and Boston, you know, obviously, we had to lean on a lot of different people, a lot of guys throwing a lot of pitches. The good news is we came away with three wins on a week that was very difficult for us. Hopefully, the off day yesterday (Monday) is something that helps us reset a little bit, you know, as we get ready to start another tough stretch of games, especially when you consider after an off day Thursday, we're 19 games in 17 days, I believe. That's going to be a tough stretch where everyone in our rotation - everyone on the pitching staff - is going to have to play a meaningful role and pick up some meaningful innings, and to protect one another, guys have got to pitch well. That's what we've got to do, and that will be the expectation."
The Yankees host the Arizona Diamondbacks for a pair of games before hosting Boston for four over the weekend, with a doubleheader on Saturday in the middle of it.
J.A. Happ gets the ball for the Yankees on Tuesday night against Arizona, after he got touched up for six runs in 3-1/3 innings in Minnesota last Wednesday.
Boone, in his pregame remarks, said of what he needed to see from Happ in Tuesday's game, "Really just driving pitches to his lanes, you know, obviously the four-seam fastball's important to him, get that pitch up, being able to mix in the slider and changeup even. As long as he's commanding the ball, he's got a chance to go out and be really successful for us."
Happ delivered a solid outing, as he allowed just three runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out two, but it was not enough as the Yankees lost to the Diamondbacks, 4-2. Taylor Clarke got the win for Arizona, as he allowed one run on three hits and two walks, with six strikeouts, in 5 1/3 innings.
With the trade deadline on Wednesday, Boone said of whether he thinks this team, the way it is structured, can win in the postseason, and he said, "I would say, there's a lot of ways to skin a cat.
"We have a lot of really good players, and we have what we think is a very capable staff. We may be creative in the way we do it, and maybe not in a traditional way, necessarily, going into the playoffs. We'll kind of see where we are, I mean, we're in late July. First and foremost, we want to get to the playoffs. Secondly, who knows who's back in the fold, you know, and how guys are built up. Bottom line is, we think we'll, at that point, hopefully, have a team full of guys capable of - whether it's in a creative way or a more traditional way - of getting 27 outs everyday. That's the key, and we have the people capable of doing that, pitching very well."