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Yankees Trying To Find Answers

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Is this one of those tailspins that every team confronts during the long stretch of a 162-game season or has it become a real concern for manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees? Losing two-of-three at home to the rival Red Sox has led to more questions and a trade deadline is rapidly approaching.

Regardless, the Yankees are in a tailspin going 6-16 in their last 22. They were shut out for the sixth time this season after their 3-0 loss Sunday evening that cost them another series and they have to find answers, though plenty of baseball remains to get things right.But when Juan Soto and Aaron Judge are held at bay there are more questions. There was a double for Soto but Judge went hitless in four at-bats. The remaining part of the Yankees lineup could do nothing again, this time due to Red Sox right-hander Kutter Crawford, who tossed seven innings of economical pitching in shutting the Yankees down.

However, this has become a recurring theme for the Yankees who did not have a runner in scoring position until the sixth, a two-out double and rare hit from DJ LeMahieu, stranded when Ben Rice struck out.

The Yankees fast start that was once 28 games over .500 is no more. If not for that start, the first place Orioles with a decimated starting rotation would be leading the AL East by more than a three-game margin. Boone is looking for answers as the Yankees embark on a six-game road trip to Tampa Bay and those division leading Orioles.

“It’s tough,” said Soto. “Everybody is aware of what we are going through. But I think the energy is still up. We still believe. We grind every day and come in with the same energy, everything is really positive on our side.”

The Yankees have been inconsistent and could not sustain the momentum after scoring 14 runs Saturday, as the rookie Rice hit a record three home runs. This is a team that is in a tailspin, seeking answers before the All-Star break and being competitive with the Orioles.

Panic, the Yankees are not showing any signs. Concern, yes and winning the division is not lost, but that is always the objective to finish first, get that bye in the first round of the postseason. At the very least get into the post season. That does not appear to be in jeopardy at this time with a 4½ game AL Wild Card lead.Quickly, though, the Red Sox are on their trail with a three-game difference in the loss column. Crawford threw 68 pitches in seven innings and the Red Sox pen finished the job with the resurgence of closer Kenley Jansen (18th save) tossing a scoreless ninth inning and retiring Judge on a strikeout for the final out.

So this is a time for Boone and GM Brian Cashman to evaluate what has gone wrong, a Yankees team that was once leading the AL in pitching and hitting and has hit rock bottom.An advanced scout in the vicinity, and many are with a trade deadline approaching, said the Yankees are missing the bat of Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo who are out of the lineup with injuries. Stanton went down with a left hamstring injury and his resurgence became a major cog to the Yankees record pace of wins in April and May.

“They need Stanton if he is healthy,” he said. “They need to shore up their bullpen. They are more than Judge and Soto.

”Yet Judge and Soto have been the Yankees’ offense. The remainder of the lineup is inconsistent and whether it’s chasing pitches or a bad selection of looks, the Yankees offense has been anemic. The 13-16 record versus AL East rivals is also not helping their cause.Luis Gil gave the Yankees some length, 6 and 2/3 innings but the rookie lost his fourth straight after a 9-1 start. He couldn’t contain Rafael Devers who notched one of his two home runs in the seventh inning. Devers has become like David Ortiz, a nemesis with 28 regular season home runs off Yankees pitching, most among active players.

But it is more than the Red Sox that the Yankees have to be concerned about. It’s their inconsistency of not driving in runs, not to mention a bullpen that is taxed. Clay Holmes, their closer who can’t close the door as evidenced again Friday night when the Red Sox finished the job with a two-out come from behind win in the ninth inning.

And at this juncture, there is talk about a continued Yankees swoon that could lead to Boone and his status as the manager, though he is not the issue here. The Yankees overall are not playing good baseball and showing more flaws that need to be corrected.

It’s a part of a long season and they are expected to rebound. The AL East division won’t be lost if they lose two-of-three or get swept down in Baltimore this weekend. The Yankees have not won their last seven series, and this all started after losing two of three up in Boston in mid June.But there has to be a concern. And the Yankees have to find the answers before the All-Star break. Surely, though, a trade deadline could lead to some roster changes to get them back on track.

Rich Mancuso X (Formerly Twitter) Mancuso

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