Yankees, Coming Off a Hot Streak, Slog Through an Ugly Loss

Yankees, Coming Off a Hot Streak, Slog Through an Ugly Loss

The market, which a few weeks ago might have been robust, has dried up as teams have suddenly become wild-card contenders, making them no longer interested in hearing from Cashman.

With time running out on the possibility of acquiring the Cleveland Indians’ Trevor Bauer or the San Francisco Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, no momentum in discussions with the Toronto Blue Jays for Marcus Stroman — and zero chance of landing Max Scherzer from the Washington Nationals — Cashman might have to gamble on the return of the right-hander Luis Severino. He has been on the injured list all season with shoulder and lat problems but is on schedule to start throwing by the end of the month.

Severino, the youngest and most dynamic of the established Yankees starters, could theoretically be the weapon they use against Houston’s Justin Verlander in a season-deciding contest. But what if the Yankees’ fate came down to one game with Paxton? Boone insisted he still had faith, praising him as “someone we’re going to lean on down the stretch and into October.”

But Paxton, a left-hander, conceded that he had failed to live up to the Yankees’ expectations. He was especially frustrated by the chronic early turbulence — highlighted by Blackmon’s home run — and the complete collapse two-plus innings later. Over all, Paxton has a 10.12 ERA in the first inning this season, which he admits is confounding.

“I haven’t figured that out yet,” Paxton said, adding that he “didn’t have a good feel for where my fastball was going” in the third and fourth innings.

He allowed nine of the 12 Rockies he faced to reach base in back-to-back rallies before being lifted by Boone. By then the Yankees were trailing, 7-1, turning the rest of the afternoon into a contest of who could survive the 100-degree heat. Large swaths of Yankee Stadium were empty in the later innings; the fans had either decided that the Yankees’ winning streak was indeed over, or else they just needed air-conditioning.

The Yankees unsurprisingly picked up all their runs via the long ball — on home runs by D.J. LeMahieu, Mike Tauchman and Aaron Hicks — but unlike so many other games on this homestand their offense looked just as worn out as the ticket holders. They dressed quickly afterward, preparing for a charter flight to Minneapolis and the beginning of an important road trip. The three games with the Twins will be followed by four on the road against the Boston Red Sox, which will bring the Yankees to the doorstep of the July 31 trading deadline.

Cashman will no doubt work the phones until the final hours, although with each passing day he and the Yankees come closer to a realization about the starting rotation. For better or worse, this is us.