Manager Aaron Boone continues to struggle in his attempts to explain the free fall that the New York Yankees are going through the second-half of the season.
"That's an embarrassing loss," said the usually mild-mannered Boone. "Hopefully, one of those rock-bottom situations, where you should be pissed off and embarrassed. We've set a better standard around here. We just got to be better. Period."
The Yankees' 9-0 defeat was their biggest blowout loss this season. That nine-run margin of defeat marked their largest loss since Oct 2, 2021, precisely against Tampa Bay (12-2). Three of the Yankees' past four losses by nine runs or more have come against the Rays.
"It's just embarrassing when you get beat like that and you're going through the struggles you are," Boone added. "I'm in charge of this team. What we're going through right now, I know better than anyone, there's going to be hard moments and hard times. I do think the effort's there, I think the care is there. But we've set a much better standard in that room that we've got to start living up to."
The Yankees' lead in the AL East, which was as high as 15½ games on July 8, is now down to five games. The last time the Yankees' divisional lead was down to five games or less was at the end of play on June 1.
But All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge stressed that the slimming advantage that they are currently holding atop the AL East cannot be a focal point.
"I don't pay attention to it. That's the worst thing you can do in anything is press or feel pressure," Judge said. "We're playing a kid's game. This is a game we love, and we've got to go out there with enthusiasm every single night and not really worry about the standings. Because if we show up and do what we do -- have good at-bats, command the stuff we need to on the mound -- we're going to look up at the end of the year and be where we want to be in the standings. We can't sit here and try to press. I don't think anybody in this room is trying to press or look at that kind of stuff. We've got plenty on our plate."
Judge has actually been one of the few highlights at the plate for the Yankees. After finishing with the best record in MLB at the All-Star break, the Yankees are 15-25 since, and have now lost five of their past six games. And a lot of those results have come of the heels of an offensive power outage.
The Yankees have scored three runs or fewer six times in their past seven games, two runs or fewer four times and one run or fewer twice; the club is batting .105 (4-for-38) with runners in scoring position over that stretch. Friday night's loss was the Yankees' 12th shutout this season; they've been shut out an MLB-high six times since the beginning of August. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Yankees' 9-19 (.321) record since Aug. 2 is the worst in the AL.
But Judge said he still believed the Yankees have all the tools they need in their clubhouse to try to overcome their extended second-half slump.
"These guys have done it. We've done it all year, especially to stay in first place in this tough division that we're in. We've got everything we need here in this room. Nobody on the outside's going to help us, nobody's feeling sorry for us," Judge said. "Nobody likes to lose. We're going to see what this team is made of. No team has ever coasted into the postseason and expect to go out there and win every day.
"We've got to bring it every single day. So today's over with and we have to bring it tomorrow. It's plain and simple. That's what it really comes down to -- pissed off, not pissed off, you've got to bring it every single day."