MILWAUKEE — There are no more turns. This is the final stretch and the Yankees are limping towards the finish line, literally. The Bombers have pinned their hopes on getting players like Anthony Rizzo, DJ LeMahieu and Luis Severino back and turning back into the dominating team they were in the first half of the season.
But after losing to the Brewers 4-1 Saturday night at American Family Field, the Bombers have 17 games to get it going again.
“This is coming down the stretch. We’re still sitting in first place, but we have a lot of important games,” Yankees slugger Aaron Judge said. “We have another big game tomorrow against the Brewers, go back home to face Pittsburgh. We got Boston coming for four in the division, and we go on the road to face Toronto as well. These are make-or-break games but we’ve been having those games all year.
“So we just got to stay focused.”
It was the second straight loss for the Yankees (87-58), who dropped the three-game series to the Brewers. It was their first series loss in their last four. Their lead in the American League East dropped to 4.5 games over the Blue Jays. The Brewers (78-67) are playing for a National League wild card spot and have won three of their last four and seven of their last nine games.
Judge did not hit a home run for the third straight game, the eighth time in his last nine. He holds at a major-league leading 57, four shy of the American League record of 61 set by Yankee Roger Maris in 1961. The slugger is still on pace to hit 64 this season. Saturday night, Judge struck out in the first, doubled in the third and flew out in the fifth. He walked on five pitches in the top of the eighth inning.
Josh Donaldson hit his 15th of the season and second in as many nights to lead off the fourth inning.
That was it for the Yankees’ offense Saturday night. Brandon Woodruff held them to one run on five hits. He walked one and struck out 10.
“He’s got an electric fastball and he was able to use both sides of the plate. A guy that can run it up to 90 miles an hour, the two-seam, four-seam combo, mixing a curveball and slider. I saw a change up there in one of my bats as well,” Judge said. “Makes for a tough day trying to pick your poison.”
For the second straight night, Willy Adames changed the game. The Brewers shortstop, who faced the Yankees regularly with the Rays, hammered a three-run homer 385 feet off Jameson Taillon in the third inning. His three-run homer in Friday night’s game turned what had started out as a Yankees blowout around and into an eventual Brewers walk-off win.
It was the 24th home run that Taillon has given up this season, tying the career high he allowed last season.
The Yankees right-hander allowed four runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out four over five innings. Taillon gave up a one-out single to Friday night’s walk-off hero Garrett Mitchell and then an RBI-double to Christian Yelich in the fifth.
The Bombers are hopeful that getting players back from the injured list will turn around a tough second half.
Sunday, they expect Rizzo back and Tuesday they could get their first glimpse of Harrison Bader, who they traded for even though he was on the injured list with plantar fasciitis. Severino is expected to make his first start since going on the IL in mid-July on Wednesday and Scott Effross not long after that.
While they are hoping that they can get whole, they are still taking hits. Marwin Gonzalez left the game Saturday night after being hit in the face by Brewers catcher Victor Caratini as he threw the ball back to the mound. Before the game, Frankie Montas was sent for an MRI on his right shoulder, the same one that kept him sidelined for 17 days right before the Yankees traded for him.
“Whenever we get those guys back, it’s definitely a boost,” Taillon said.
Source: Berkshire mont