The Yankees will look to get back on track with their interleague series against the Nationals

Nate Eovaldi

Nate Eovaldi

The Yankees (22-17) lost the final game of their series to the Kansas City Royals, 6-0, and have now lost five of their past six games. They now have only a one game lead in the American League East over the Tampa Bay Rays.

In those five losses, the Yankees combined to score only six runs. The offensive ineptitude has caused the Yankees to go from having a four game lead in the division on May 11, when they had a 21-12 record, to the one game lead that they have before Tuesday night’s game.

A reason for the low run scoring output in recent games is that the team has not been hitting enough extra-base hits. In the last three losses they combined for only six extra base hits and in their previous two losses they didn’t have any extra-base hits. Even if you do have solid pitching, it is very difficult to win games if you are not hitting doubles and homers consistently.

The Yankees have also been making errors more often recently. This is similar to the first nine games of the season when they started 3-6 and repeatedly did not make the routine play. They have combined to make four errors in their last three losses, which doesn’t give the pitcher much margin for error.

Except for the 12-1 loss on May 15 when Michael Pineda allowed five earned runs and had his first subpar performance of his outstanding season and the loss on May 14 when Chase Whitley had to leave the game early because of his elbow injury, the starters have generally given the team a chance to win each game. Nathan Eovaldi allowed four earned runs after pitching into the eighth inning for the first time as a Yankee and Adam Warren allowed three runs and had seven strikeouts in seven innings.

Eovaldi allowing four runs is more than what the Yankees want, but he did not allow a run in the first six innings and showed signs of improvement. He kept the team in the game and that’s all you can ask for.

Chris Capuano allowed four earned runs in three innings during Sunday’s game, but that was his first game this season after spending the first 36 games on the disabled list and he was effective in the first three innings. He came out of the game in the fourth after allowing two walks and two singles and seemed confident that he would be more effective in his next start.

The Yankees have received some good news as it was announced that Masahiro Tanaka, who is on the DL with wrist and forearm issues, will make a start with Triple-A Scranton on Thursday. This could put him on track to replace Warren in the rotation next week or the week after. Tanaka threw a 29-pitch bullpen session without any issues, which is a positive sign going forward.

After Monday’s off day, the Yankees will now play a two-game series in Washington D.C. against the Washington Nationals. The Yankees will have an another off day on Thursday, and it is possible that these two off days will help revitalize the Yankees because they had only had one off day in the past 31 days before Monday’s off day.

These are the pitching matchups against the Nationals (22-17), who are in second place in the National League East:

Tonight
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (3-1, 4.14)
vs.
LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.25)
7:05 p.m., YES Network

Wednesday
RHP Adam Warren (2-2, 4.50)
vs.
RHP Jordan Zimmermann (3-2, 3.66)
7:05 p.m., YES Network

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