The New York Yankees appear to have hit a new low in their disappointing season—and even some harsh words from owner George Steinbrenner can’t seem to get them turned around.
The underachieving Yankees will try to end a season-high six-game losing streak when they continue a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins.
The Yankees squandered an early 3-0 lead and dropped back to .500 after Friday’s series-opening 6-3 defeat in their first meeting with the Twins since last year’s AL Division Series.
Lew Ford homered, tripled and drove in three runs to lead Minnesota, which lost to New York in the first round of the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons.
This year’s version of the Bronx Bombers doesn’t have the look of a postseason contender.
“We’re frustrated, disappointed,” Yankees starter Mike Mussina said. “We certainly aren’t proud of the way we’re playing.”
Neither is Steinbrenner, who held a conference call Friday afternoon with manager Joe Torre and GM Brian Cashman to get some answers after watching his team get swept by the Kansas City Royals, the worst team in the major leagues.
An upset Steinbrenner made it clear the team’s struggles are unacceptable.
“He wants to see improvement yesterday,” Torre said. “And so do we all.”
The Yankees haven’t lost seven straight since 2000—their last championship season.
With a payroll over $200 million and a cavalcade of stars on their roster, the Yankees would probably not have expected to call on a 25-year-old right-hander from Taiwan with no major league experience entering this season to end their skid.
However, Rookie Chien-Ming Wang has won three straight starts and the Yankees have emerged victorious in four of his five outings. He had his last turn in the rotation skipped to keep the rest of New York’s high-priced rotation in order, but pitched 4 2-3 innings of relief in the Yankees’ 7-2 loss to Boston on Sunday.
Wang has yielded three earned runs or fewer in all but one of his six big-league appearances. In his last start, a 4-2 win over Detroit on May 25, he allowed two runs and five hits over 6 1-3 innings, striking out two without a walk. Wang has issued just one walk in his last three appearances, spanning 17 1-3 innings.
The Twins lost three starters to injury in their 13-inning victory over Cleveland on Thursday. Nick Punto blew out his hamstring and is on the disabled list, Justin Morneau strained his left elbow and Joe Mauer pulled a groin muscle.
Even without heavy hitters Mauer and Morneau in the starting lineup, the Twins roughed up Mussina with two home runs and eight hits to win their third in a row and sixth in their last eight.
“You can’t cry about it,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s just a matter of picking each other up. That’s what baseball’s all about.”