DJ LeMahieu’s bat has come around. But Monday night, his glove let the Yankees down.
Two misplays by LeMahieu — a fifth-inning fielding error and an errant throw — cost the Yankees two runs in their fourth straight loss, a 5-3 setback to the sub-.500 Angels at the Stadium.
With the state of the languishing Yankees’ offense, those miscues by the second baseman proved costly.
“I feel like when we think of sloppiness you think defensive side understandably, or baserunning. But I feel like a large portion of the season, and I think one of the things that actually fueled our turnaround in the month of May when we really started playing better — we weren’t really hitting a lot or doing offensively what we thought — but one of the things that fueled the turnaround with our pitching was I think our defense,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We had tightened things up quite a bit. I still feel like that’s been better. We’ve had our one-off games here that kind of derailed that narrative a little bit, but overall I do feel like we’ve made a lot of strides defensively.”
That wasn’t the case Monday night.
The usually sure-handed LeMahieu was unable to come up with Jared Walsh’s grounder with one out in the fifth inning for his sixth error of the year, enabling Anthony Rendon to reach third. Rendon scored the go-ahead run on Max Stassi’s run-scoring groundout LeMahieu was unable to field cleanly, therefore ruining any hopes of a double play.
Three innings later, LeMahieu airmailed a relay throw in which he had Scott Schebler out by a few steps. On a Jose Iglesias double to right field, Schebler came all the way around from first to score. Initially, it seemed like a bad send, until LeMahieu’s throw was nowhere close to catcher Gary Sanchez, enabling the Angels to tack onto their lead.
“We’re humans. We’re gonna make errors, regardless,” third baseman Gio Urshela said. “We’re just trying to make the play. Errors, that’s part of the game. We’re trying to do the best we can.”
Defense has been a season-long issue for the Yankees. They are 25th in baseball in defensive runs saved with minus-13 according to The Fielding Bible, a problem for a team without dominant starting pitching. LeMahieu is supposed to be one of the exceptions to that problem. He wasn’t in the latest Yankees loss.
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