In the third inning Monday night, Anthony Rizzo slammed his helmet five times after home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn ruled the first baseman leaned into a pitch and was not plunked.
Although the Yankees own a 10-game lead in the American League East, Rizzo's emotional display might epitomize what they have been enduring lately.
Blanked in consecutive games for the first time since September 2016, the Yankees hope to start reversing their slide Tuesday night when they continue a three-game series with the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.
"We're getting shut down right now and that needs to change," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "We need to score."
New York is 2-10 in its past 12 games and 8-16 since holding a 64-28 record at the All-Star break. On Monday, the Yankees were blanked for the fourth time in nine games and 10th time overall when they had seven hits and struck out 12 times in a 4-0 defeat.
Besides being blanked in consecutive games for the first time since it happened in three straight times Sept. 22-24, 2016, the Yankees have been held to three runs or fewer in six straight games and in eight of their past 10 contests.
"It's just one of those funks, it's kind of hard to put into words because at the same time, you want to remember all the work you did to put yourself in this position, too," Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole said.
Tampa Bay is 7-4 over its past 11 games and seeking a four-game winning streak. After Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen produced stellar outings against Baltimore, Ryan Yarbrough highlighted Tampa Bay's seventh shutout by allowing three hits in four innings as a bulk reliever for his first win since Sept. 24, 2021.
"I think we're getting in a good spot," Yarbrough said. "I feel like we've been kind of trending towards that way for a while and we're starting to get some healthy, so things are kind of going in the right direction for us."
Tampa Bay's Jeffrey Springs (4-3, 2.56 ERA) will make his 24th appearance and 16th start Tuesday. Springs is 3-3 with a 2.92 ERA in his 71 1/3 innings since fully entering the rotation on May 9.
Springs last pitched Wednesday in Milwaukee when he allowed two runs and four hits in five innings of a no-decision, marking the 14th time he allowed three runs or less in a start.
Springs is 0-1 with a 2.81 ERA in nine career appearances against the Yankees. In his only previous start against them, the left-hander allowed homers to Gleyber Torres and Matt Carpenter over five innings in a 2-0 home loss on May 27.
Nestor Cortes (9-3, 2.67), who is 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA over his past seven starts, gets the ball for the Yankees. Cortes is coming off consecutive no-decisions at St. Louis and Seattle and Wednesday he allowed three runs and three hits to go along with 10 strikeouts in six innings against the Mariners.
Cortes has allowed three runs or less in 18 of his 21 starts so far, including twice against Tampa Bay. Cortes took the loss in his last outing against the Rays when he allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings on June 21.
He is 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 career appearances (five starts) against the Rays.
--Field Level Media