DJ LeMahieu’s bat has come around. Yet, Monday night, his glove let the Yankees down.
Two misplays by LeMahieu — a fifth-inning fielding mistake and an errant throw — cost the Yankees two runs in their fourth consecutive 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 demonstrated expensively.
“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.”
The typically sure-handed LeMahieu couldn’t concoct Jared Walsh’s grounder with one out in the fifth inning for his 6th error of the year, empowering Anthony Rendon to arrive at third. Rendon scored the go-ahead run on Max Stassi’s run-scoring groundout LeMahieu couldn’t field neatly, along these lines demolishing any expectations 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 right around from first to score. At first, it seemed like a bad send, until LeMahieu’s throw was no place near catcher Gary Sanchez, empowering 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 as indicated by The Fielding Bible, an issue for a team without predominant beginning pitching. LeMahieu should be one of the exceptions for that issue. He wasn’t in the most recent Yankees misfortune.