<
>

Yankees' bullpen lets White Sox walk all over them

play
Abreu smacks walk-off two-RBI single (0:30)

Jose Abreu hits a single to left field, bringing in two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the White Sox a 4-3 win over the Yankees. (0:30)

CHICAGO -- There are bad losses, and then there was Tuesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. The New York Yankees beat themselves against the Chicago White Sox. It was the worst loss of the season.

It was so bad, it maybe shouldn’t even count as a White Sox win.

In coming back from a two-run deficit for a 4-3 victory, the White Sox recorded only one hit: Jose Abreu's ninth-inning, two-run single that ended it. Over the final two innings, the imploding Yankees bullpen allowed six walks and hit a batter in giving up three runs.

It was ugly, and now the second-place Yankees are looking up at the Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees’ bullpen is in disarray. Manager Joe Girardi decided to stay away from closer Aroldis Chapman and the emerging Chad Green to avoid overuse on Tuesday. That left the trio of rookie Domingo German, the ultra-struggling Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances to finish off a lead handed to them by Luis Severino's seven strong innings, Aaron Judge's game-tying RBI single and Gary Sanchez's go-ahead, two-run double.

The Yankees’ bullpen failed.

In the eighth, German and Clippard combined to walk four guys and allowed a run to score. Meanwhile, Clippard has been so bad that Girardi was celebrating the fact that he struck out Matt Davidson with the bases loaded to keep the lead at one after eight.

“Clip did a fabulous job of getting out of that,” Girardi said.

We should all wish we had Girardi grading our tests in school. Clippard walked two, and that forced in a run.

“I felt like myself again,” Clippard said.

Clippard has turned into Yankees fans' Public Enemy No. 1 because of his swoon in June. In seven appearances, he has a 21.21 ERA. This is after he was stellar in his first 28 outings of the season, in which he had a 1.73 ERA.

Clippard got out of the eighth and, if Betances hadn’t blown the game, Girardi might have held a parade down Michigan Avenue.

For his part, Betances was thrust into the closer role, despite it being his third day in a row pitching. That was the reason Chapman wasn’t in the game, but Girardi was willing to go to Betances. Betances, who very likely is going to go to his fourth All-Star game in four years, was too reliant on his breaking pitches and couldn’t find the strike zone.

After a groundout, Betances walked two batters and hit a batter. He forced Melky Cabrera to pop out before falling behind against Abreu. On a 2-1 breaking ball, Abreu found a hole, and that was the ballgame.

“I didn’t get the job done,” Betances said.

Betances deserves a pass because he has been that good for the Yankees. Everyone has their bad days. Overall, though, the Yankees have a problem. The bullpen is a mess. The biggest issue wasn’t even on the mound Tuesday, as Chapman has looked a little more hittable lately.

After the game, Girardi was surprisingly calm about the loss. He was trying to focus on Wednesday, when Masahiro Tanaka will try to build on his strong start last Friday in the Bronx. He was trying to focus on tomorrow, even as he knew the night was worse than normal.

“That’s a hard loss,” the manager said.

The worst part about it was that the Yankees did it to themselves.