NEW YORK — The Yankees have reached the stretch run of the 2018 season playing like a mediocre ballclub.
The trend has continued so far this weekend.
World beaters on Friday night, the Yankees stunk it up for much of Saturday afternoon in losing 8-7 to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Four Yankees homers in the sixth and seventh innings turned a blowout into a tight game, but the end result was a 10th loss in 18 games.
“We come out (Friday) like gangbusters and we play well, then kind of fall back to keep from getting that roll,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “But I also feel like we’re just a few games away from really getting on that roll to where we can start rolling downhill and start beating some people up. But we’ve got to get there.”
The timing for this skid is terrible, as the sizzling Oakland Athletics are threatening to steal home-field advantage away from the Yankees in their expected American League Wild Card Game showdown on Oct. 3.
The Yankees maintained their 1 1/2-game lead Oakland for the top Wild Card spot, as the Athletics lost their game at Tampa Bay. Both clubs have 14 games remaining.
“We’re in a dogfight,” Boone said. “We’re in a good position to get to where we want to go, but we’ve got to go take it.”
The Yankees trailed 5-0 after five innings and 8-1 heading to the home seventh, then powered their way back into the game.
Miguel Andujar’s grand slam in the seventh made it a one-run game, but the Yankees were shut down the rest of the way.
Aaron Hicks walked with one out in the eighth and moved to second on a wild pitch, but he was stranded there when Didi Gregorius popped out to third and Gary Sanchez struck out.
Ken Giles then worked a 1-2-3 ninth to ice the game for the Jays.
Gregorius had a record-setting day for the Yankees, as he belted his 25th and 26th homers to break his own franchise mark for most homers in as season by a shortstop. His 25 in 2016 topped Derek Jeter’s 24 in 1999.
Giancarlo Stanton also homered for the Yankees, but the Blue Jays countered with three solo blasts in building a big lead off CC Sabathia, who was knocked out in the third inning in his shortest start since 2015.
Sabathia (7-7) retired the Jays 1-2-3 in the first inning on six pitches, but fell behind 3-0 in the second and was gone after 2 1/3 innings with the Yankees trailing 5-0.
Sabathia was hurt by the home run ball, as the Jays hit three solo shots, two coming from cleanup hitter Randal Grichuk.
Grichuk’s led off the Jays’ second with a 428-foot blast to left-center to ignite a three-run uprising, then he homered again in the third with nobody on and Kevin Pillar followed with a jack to make it 5-0.
That was all for Sabathia, who outing was his shortest since he pitched 2 1/3 innings in a 15-4 Yankees loss to the Texas Rangers on May 23, 2015.
Like several Yankees, Sabatha has struggled of late. In his last four starts, he’s 0-3 with a 7.56 ERA.
“The cutter’s just not been there like it was earlier in the season,” Sabathia said. “It’s just one of those things. I’ll keep working at it and hopefully get it back. I feel good (physically). It’s just a matter of making that pitch work for me and get some contact again.”
— Left-hander Justus Sheffield, the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, received his first big-league call-up Saturday after Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost the fifth and decisive game of the International League championship series to Durham.
— Closer Aroldis Chapman, on the DL since Aug. 22 with left knee tendinitis, felt healthy throwing a bullpen. This was his second in four days. He’s expected to pitch an inning in a simulated game on Monday or Tuesday, then be activated from the DL.
— Right fielder Aaron Judge wasn’t used the day after came off the disabled list and played two innings of defense.
Sunday: Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees, 1:05 p.m., YES. LHP Thomas Pannone (2-1, 4.13) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (9-10, 5.01).
Monday: Off day
Tuesday: Boston Red Sox at Yankees, 1:05 p.m., WPIX. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-7, 4.22) vs. LHP J.A. Happ (16-6, 3.75).
Wednesday: Boston Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m., YES. LHP David Price (15-6, 3.42) vs. RHP Luis Severino (17-8, 3.46).
Thursday: Boston Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m., YES LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4, 3.53) vs. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (12-5, 3.47).
Source : https://www.nj.com/yankees/index.ssf/2018/09/yankees_vs_blue_jays_rapid_reaction_13.html