BALTIMORE — While not laying down any ultimatums, Brian Cashman was blunt.
“The type of baseball that we’re playing is far below this team’s capabilities,” the general manager said a couple of hours before the Yankees started a three-game series against the Orioles. “Enough’s enough.”
Not yet it isn’t.
With their bats quickly reverting to their pre-Sunday night level of productivity and a decent but not good enough performance from Luis Severino, the Yankees dropped their sixth straight, 4-1, to the Orioles Tuesday night in front of 16,083 at Camden Yards.
“Really shocked,” Joe Girardi said of his club’s 8-16 record. “At times we haven’t scored runs, at times we haven’t pitched really well. It’s been a combination of things, but you have to turn it around.”
The Yankees, third-to-the-bottom of the American League in runs (81) entering the night, managed one run and five hits in seven innings against righthander Chris Tillman. They had seven hits overall in a game that is their first of 20 straight without a day off.
Also, one of the club’s few hot hitters of late, Alex Rodriguez, left the game in the eighth inning for a pinch hitter after tweaking his right hamstring running out a ground ball to end the fifth.
He is scheduled to have an MRI at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
“It’s definitely worrisome,” Girardi said.
A-Rod, who had six extra-base hits in his previous five games, said he was “pretty sore,” but wouldn’t say if he thought he’d require a stint on the disabled list.
“I don’t want to speculate,” the 40-year-old said. “It wasn’t a big ‘pop.’ I’m hoping for the best.”
Though Nick Swisher could be a call-up option should A-Rod hit the DL, it’s far from automatic as he’s not on the 40-man roster. Additionally, the 35-year-old is playing on two surgically repaired knees and was signed to a minor league deal several weeks ago primarily as insurance in the case of a long-term injury to first baseman Mark Teixeira.
“I don’t know how bad it is,” Girardi said. “We won’t really know until the MRI.”
The loss, the Yankees’ 10th in 13 games, brought a familiar clubhouse refrain about a “turnaround” on the horizon, but also a strange declaration from one of the team leaders, Brett Gardner.
“Tomorrow’s a must-win game for us,” the leftfielder said of Wednesday’s contest that has CC Sabathia (1-2, 5.06) taking on Orioles righthander Tyler Wilson (1-0, 3.06).
A must win? On May 4?
“We’ve been struggling here for a few weeks,” Gardner said. “I guess there’s never a must-win game in May but it feels like it.”
It actually feels as if Ted Cruz is closer to the White House than the Yankees are to breaking out of this slide.
Tillman (3-1, 2.81) was the latest pitcher to have a starring role against them, walking four and striking out a career-high nine, including three in a perfect seventh, his final inning.
The Yankees did nothing to improve on their .203 average with runners in scoring position, going 1-for-7.
Luis Severino (0-4) was better than the 6.86 ERA he hauled into the evening, but committed two little-league caliber errors. The righthander, who allowed four runs — three earned — and five hits in six innings, dropped two throws from Mark Teixeira attempting to cover first base on grounders. The second of those, occurring in the fourth inning, gave the Orioles (15-10) the lead for good at 2-1.
“It’s a routine play,” said Severino, who struck out four and walked two. “I have to make that play. I looked at the bag and didn’t catch the ball first.”
The second of Mark Trumbo’s two homers, which gave him eight this season, was a two-run blast in the fifth that made it 4-1.
With the Yankees’ offense of late, that blast all but sealed the deal.
“You just have to fight your way out of it,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line . . . we’ll try again tomorrow.”