BOSTON — Plenty went wrong for the Yankees over perhaps their worst three-game stretch of the season going into Saturday’s game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
They dealt with injuries, shaky starting pitching and a lineup that was shut down by Baltimore’s Alex Cobb and again by Boston’s Rick Porcello.
Among the most striking issues, though, were the faulty fundamentals displayed in the field by Miguel Andujar, Jonathan Holder and especially Gleyber Torres.
The rookie second baseman — whose arrival in April was a huge part of the Yankees shaking off their early doldrums and vaulting to one of the best records in baseball — hasn’t been the same since coming back from the disabled list.
Both at the plate and defensively, the 21-year-old has shown flaws.
Whether it’s going 6-for-30 with 10 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances in nine games since returning from the strained hip that cost him three weeks last month, the baserunning gaffe he made against the Royals last Saturday, a pair of defensive misplays against the Orioles on Wednesday or failing to knock down Mitch Moreland’s single to right-center that scored a run Friday, Torres has struggled.
“Sometimes I try to make plays and I don’t,” Torres said before the Yankees tried to snap a three-game losing streak Saturday at Fenway Park. “I’ve missed a couple plays and I feel bad. I just try to be professional, but I’m human and I’m trying to get better.”
It’s hardly surprising Torres wasn’t able to keep up the incredible pace he was on to start his career.
He homered twice against Baltimore on Wednesday, including a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth that briefly gave the Yankees some hope before they dropped the game to the lowly Orioles.
The first two games against the Red Sox didn’t go any better.
“We’re facing a really good team right now in Boston,” Torres said. “We lost a couple of games, but it’s a good test. I’m focused on doing my job. I just have to forget what’s happened and just play better.”
Aaron Boone hasn’t held back in his criticisms of Torres, but he also has been careful in saying he doesn’t want him to lose the flair with which he plays the game.
It seems Torres now is trying to figure out how to balance the two sides.
He insists he feels fine physically and that the strained hip is not an issue.
“I feel good,” Torres said. “The first games back, I felt rusty at the plate, but that went away. Now I have to get back to hitting better.”
As the league adjusts to what Torres does well offensively, he’ll have to adjust back. It’s a process he’s already started.
“I try not to change anything I’m doing,” Torres said. “They’re not pitching me that differently. It’s not a big deal. It’s just about me getting more experience.”
A letdown was inevitable, especially after Torres went through a torrid 26-game stretch from April 24 through May 25 when he went 32-for-89 with nine homers and the team went 19-7 when he played.
“I still feel like that player,” Torres said. “I still feel good.”
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