How many Yankees relievers does it take to flush four leads in four straight games?
As in Chad Green giving up a game-winning homer to Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman on Wednesday in Atlanta, and Green blowing a save in the first game of Friday’s Subway Series doubleheader against the Mets at Yankee Stadium — when he served up three homers in the sixth inning. Then Aroldis Chapman flushed the nightcap when Amed Rosario hit a two-run homer in the seventh.
Move to Saturday, when Adam Ottavino ruined a wonderful outing by J.A. Happ by giving up a solo homer to Wilson Ramos in the eighth inning that tied the score.
The latest flush came hours after GM Brian Cashman admitted he is looking for bullpen and rotation help with the trade deadline arriving Monday.
After Happ blanked the Mets through seven innings and retired Robinson Cano to start the eighth, Boone and Happ agreed it was time to phone the pen.
“I felt like he ran out of gas at the end of the seventh,’’ Boone said of Happ, who threw a season-high 90 pitches. “I wanted him to go back out and at least face [Robinson] Cano and he felt up to do that.’’
Happ got Cano on a ground out to the right side and Ottavino surfaced from the pen.
Happ not having pitched since Aug. 16 factored into Boone’s decision to remove Happ, and the veteran didn’t have a problem with it.
“We had sort of talked about that, after the layoff, we talked about how that might play out,’’ Happ said. “That was fine by me.’’
Fortunately for Ottavino, the Yankees rallied for a run against former teammate Dellin Betances in the ninth to pull out a 2-1 victory on a wild pitch — with Erik Kratz showing a safety squeeze bunt that scored Clint Frazier and stopped a season-high, seven-game losing streak.
Here is the rub with Cashman looking to improve his pen, which misses Tommy Kahnle (Tommy John surgery) more than most thought and having Zack Britton on the IL with a left hamstring injury: The GM isn’t going to find an upgrade over that trio of relievers in the trade market.
Remember when all the talk surrounding the Yankees’ pen was how it would lock games down, possibly as soon as the sixth inning? Well it has turned into a unit that ignites fires instead of extinguishing them.
Of course the feeble Yankees lineup didn’t help.
After Luke Voit homered in the first, the Yankees wasted a scoring chance in the third when he grounded out with a runner on third and watched Frazier get thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a Brett Gardner double to end the fourth. The Yankees loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh on walks and stranded three.
Betances walked Frazier to start the ninth, struck out Brett Gardner looking and gave up a soft single to Jordy Mercer that put runners at the corners for Kratz. At 0-1, Kratz showed bunt on his own and Betances’ pitch was too high for Ramos to handle as Frazier scored.