NEW YORK -- Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse...
... it does.
If there is a definition for the term "rock bottom," this might be it: back-to-back losses to the Texas Rangers, a fourth-place, five-games-under-.500 team upon arrival on Friday who might well be a fourth-place, two-games-under-.500 team when they leave Sunday night. And in the two games played so far, the Rangers, who had scored fewer runs than all but five other AL teams, put up 25 runs against the Yankees.
Friday night, it was Michael Pineda, the Yankees' current ace, and on Saturday, it was CC Sabathia, their former ace, who were brutalized by the Rangers' less-than-fearsome lineup that ranks 10th in runs scored and 11th in batting average and OPS.
And unlike Friday night, there was no stirring Yankees comeback after falling behind in a disastrous third inning -- just a pair of late, meaningless solo home runs. Aside from the two homers, the Yankees managed just four other hits, one of them an infield single, before adding a pair of ninth-inning runs on a single,a triple by John Ryan Murphy and a ground out by Slade Heathcott, who got his first big-league RBI. Things got so bad, Joe Girardi sent Garrett Jones in to pitch the ninth inning. Brutal.
Bad day at the office: Sabathia had his shortest outing since 2009 -- when he left a game against the Florida Marlins in the second inning with a biceps injury - and by far his worst outing of the season. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits -- all singles -- and six earned runs. The gory details of the horrific third inning are below, but suffice it to say this will not be one of the outings in which manager Joe Girardi claims Sabathia pitched better than the numbers indicate. Sabathia is now 0-6 with a 9.42 ERA in his last six Yankee Stadium starts, dating to the beginning of the 2014 season.
Ten spot: if you think Friday night's seven-run third inning was the low point of the Yankees' season, you should have seen Saturday's third inning. The Rangers matched those seven and raised it three more, putting up 10 runs on eight hits, including a three-run homer by Shin-Soo Choo, who coincidentally had hit a three-run homer here in 2009 to cap a 14-run second inning by the Cleveland Indians. This one started off the way many bad innings do, with a leadoff walk by Sabathia to Jake Smolinski. Things began looking ominous when Didi Gregorius made a nice diving stop on Delino DeShields' grounder up the middle -- but tried to get flashy by flipping the ball with his glove to Stephen Drew for the force, an attempt that went awry and left both runners safe. Choo then singled in a run, followed by Prince Fielder's single to right that skipped off Carlos Beltran's glove, allowing two more runs to score. Sabathia gave up two more hits, including a two-run single by Elvis Andrus, before Girardi came to get him. But the fun was just getting started; Esmil Rogers hit the first batter he faced, allowed an RBI ground-rule double to the second, allowed a sacrifice fly, walked another and then surrendered Choo's HR, just inside the left-field foul pole, to complete the carnage. The Rangers sent 13 batters to the plate and got eight hits in the inning.
Bright spot: Relatively speaking, anyway. Beltran hit a solo home run in the sixth to get the Yankees on the board -- OK, it was now 13-1 -- and also extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Beltran's home run -- his third of the season -- was only the Yankees' second hit of the game to that point. Alex Rodriguez had reached on an infield single in the fourth.
Power surge: After going 200 at-bats without a home run, Gregorius homered for the second straight game to cut the Rangers' lead to 15-2.
Walking to nowhere: In what turned out to be a precursor to the day's offense, the Yankees got runners on first and second with one out in the first inning thanks to walks to Brett Gardner and Rodriguez -- in between, Gardner stole his 12th base of the season -- but stranded both when Teixeira popped out to the infield and Headley struck out swinging.
Sunday: On Bernie Williams Night, the Yankees will ask Chris Capuano (0-1, 12.00) to help them avoid an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Rangers, who will start RHP Yovani Gallardo (3-6, 4.26). First pitch is at 8:05 p.m. (ESPN).