The New York Yankees have struggled at various points in their storied history, but never like this during Joe Torre’s tenure in the Bronx.
Facing a 10-game deficit for the first time since taking over the team in 1996, Torre hopes the Yankees can regroup as their Subway Series continues Saturday afternoon against the crosstown rival New York Mets at Shea Stadium.
The unprecedented gap between the Yankees (18-22) and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox became a reality following Friday’s 3-2 loss in the series opener. Losing starter Andy Pettitte allowed a go-ahead, two-run homer to Endy Chavez, and the Yankees could not muster anything against Oliver Perez aside from a two-run homer by Hideki Matsui.
“We’ve got about as talented a group of guys as there is,” said Pettitte, who pitched seven innings in taking the loss. “Sooner or later we’re going to put it together. It’s just frustrating while you’re in it.”
While the Yankees have scored three runs or less in each of their last seven losses, first baseman Jason Giambi remains optimistic the team can reverse its fortunes.
“This team is just as capable of reeling off 15 straight wins,” said Giambi, who struck out against Billy Wagner with a runner on first to end the game.
Torre has had few problems during his 11-plus seasons in the Bronx, winning four World Series titles and two additional AL pennants to go with 10 division titles - including the last nine.
But with no World Series titles since 2000, the Yankees off to their worst 40-game start since going 16-24 in 1995 and the Red Sox with an opportunity to run away with the AL East, the pressure to win that starts at the top with demanding owner George Steinbrenner is mounting unlike any previous season during Torre’s time in New York.
“I guess if you’re here long enough, that stuff is going to happen to you,” Torre said. “We still need to just get our house in order without worrying about who we’re chasing at this point in time.”
The Mets (27-14), who have won three straight and eight of their last 10, now turn to Tom Glavine (4-1, 3.31 ERA) in a bid to match a season high with a fourth consecutive victory. The veteran left-hander - trying for the second time to record his 295th career victory - did not receive a decision Monday after allowing four runs and six hits with four walks in six innings to the Cubs before the Mets won 5-4.
Glavine, who is carrying a personal three-game winning streak into this game, is 4-2 with a 3.71 ERA in eight lifetime regular-season starts against the Yankees. He is 2-1 with a 5.24 ERA in four starts while pitching for the Mets.
“There’s a different atmosphere,” Glavine told the Mets’ official Web site. “There’s a different adrenaline that’s associated with it. Just getting out there, putting the uniform on and going to play - that’s a lot of fun.”
Watching his teammates struggle offensively may be a bad omen for Yankees starter Darrell Rasner (1-2, 3.28), who is trying to avoid losing consecutive starts. The right-hander was reached for three runs and seven hits in five innings of a 3-0 defeat to the Seattle Mariners on May 11.
While Rasner has not pitched six full innings in any of his five starts, he also hasn’t gotten much support. The Yankees have totaled just eight runs in those games.
He will be making his first-ever appearance against the Mets and his first interleague start.