The New York Yankees saw their bullpen falter in recent games, a key reason why they are enduring their toughest week in an outstanding first half.
The Yankees hope to reverse the recent relief struggles Friday night when they host the Boston Red Sox, who are experiencing similar issues of late.
New York enters its final series before the All-Star break with a 3.11 ERA that ranks third in the majors. However, the Yankees have lost four of their past five games after taking the first two contests in last week’s four-game series at Boston.
In the four losses, New York relievers have allowed 19 runs (15 earned) in 12 innings for an ERA of 11.25. Those struggles resulted in New York dropping two of three to the Cincinnati Reds this week.
On Tuesday, standout closer Clay Holmes allowed four runs and did not retire any of the five batters he faced in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss.
On Thursday, Jonathan Loasiga faltered in his return from the injured list by allowing three runs in the eighth, and Lucas Luetge yielded three runs (two earned) in the 10th of a 7-6 loss after New York’s Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres homered in the eighth.
The Yankees did not use Holmes, Michael King and Wandy Peralta on Thursday after each pitched the previous two games.
“It’s a tough one,” Judge said. “You never want to lose a series, but sometimes you’ve got to tip your cap and get ready for the next one.”
Boston heads to New York with 10 losses in its past 14 games after getting swept in a four-game series at Tampa Bay.
Red Sox relievers allowed 10 runs (six earned) in 11 innings against the Rays. The series ended with a 5-4 loss on Thursday when Boston allowed a five-run seventh after Rafael Devers homered and Kutter Crawford had a shutout through six innings.
John Schreiber took the loss after giving up two runs, just the second time in 32 appearances this season he allowed an earned run.
“We’ll be OK,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said following the Thursday defeat. “We played some good baseball today, we put up good at-bats, we battled. I know we lost, but compared to yesterday and the last few days, tonight was a better effort.”
Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 3.16 ERA) will return from the injured list to start the series opener against New York. The veteran right-hander has been sidelined since June 9 due to lower back inflammation.
Eovaldi faced the Yankees on Opening Day and got a no-decision after allowing three runs in five innings. In 16 career regular-season appearances (13 starts) against the Yankees, he is 3-4 with a 3.76 ERA.
Eovaldi also beat the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2018 AL Division Series and in the 2021 AL wild-card game, yielding a total of two runs in 12 1/3 innings in those outings.
Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 3.19 ERA), who is coming off his 12th no-decision in 17 starts, opens the series for New York. He last pitched Saturday in Boston when he allowed two runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings before the Red Sox rallied in the 10th inning for a 6-5 victory.
Montgomery is 1-2 with a 3.90 ERA in 13 career regular-season starts against Boston. He faced the Red Sox in New York on April 10, when he allowed three runs and four hits in 3 1/3 innings.
–Field Level Media