Yankees stuck in rut during worst stretch of 2024: ‘It feels terrible’

Aaron Judge Yankees
Jul 7, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have not just slowed down from their blistering start to the 2024 season, they have come to a screeching halt. 

Once Major League Baseball’s best team and the first to hit 50 wins, Aaron Boone’s men have lost 16 of their last 22 games — an alarming downturn that has knocked them off their perch atop the American League East. 

Following an 11-5 win over the Kansas City Royals on June 12, New York sat 2.5 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles and 14 in front of the third-place Boston Red Sox. 

Since then the Orioles have been nothing short of mediocre, going 12-11 in their last 23 games. Yet they now own a three-game lead atop the division.

The Red Sox have been red-hot, going 16-6 and 4-2 against the Yankees to draw within 4.5 games of their arch-rivals. 

“It feels terrible. You have to be a little sick to be in this game and you have to be able to weather it,” Boone said. “You’d like this stretch where it’s a bump in the road to not be this kind of stretch. You’d like to weather it a bit better which we have to do… but it’s right there in front of us.”

They have to find solutions for the litany of inconsistencies, though. 

The all-powerful offense led by Aaron Judge and Juan Soto has been held to four or fewer runs in 14 of the Yankees’ last 22 games. Thirteen of them were losses. 

“It’s tough,” Soto said. “It’s never fun this way but we all know about baseball that this is part of the game. It all depends on how you get out of it, how you take it every day, come back the next day.”

The struggles of those quiet bats are all the more exacerbated by a pitching staff that has allowed 6.1 runs per game during this swoon.

Reigning Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole has a 6.75 ERA in the four starts since returning from a spring-training elbow injury. Luis Gil, who looked like a shoo-in for AL Rookie of the Year and perhaps even the Cy Young, allowed 16 runs in his previous three starts before getting back on track Sunday night when he allowed just one run on four hits in 6.2 innings against the Red Sox.

But when Gil was on, the bats were off, and the Yankees lost 3-0.

“We just have to keep playing good baseball… We have everything that we need,” Soto said. “We just have to keep our chin up and come in every day to grind… It’s tough. Everyone is aware of what we are going through it but the energy is still up, we’re still believing, we’re still grinding every day.”

The Yankees head to Tampa to face a Rays team that the Texas Rangers just swept but then a stiff test against the Orioles in Baltimore awaits before the All-Star break. 

“This is not the time to feel sorry for yourself,” Boone said. “It’s time to try and get guys going, get guys moving, and hopefully head into the All-Star break on a good note.”

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