When you're the New York Yankees, no series says "mail in" like a four-game set in Kansas City in the dog days of summer.
Manager Joe Girardi felt that was exactly what happened this past weekend against the Royals — particularly in their 1-0 loss on Sunday. Needless to say, he wasn't happy about it.
"We need to play better, that's what we need to do,'' Girardi said. "We need to go home and play well. Tying series is not good enough. We need to start winning series.''
The team has split three sets in a row, going 1-1 against Texas and 2-2 against the Red Sox before facing the Royals who were 20 games under .500 heading into the weekend set.
Both the Rays and Sox have struggled of late as well, giving New York an opportunity to virtually lock up the division title. The Yankees, though, couldn't take advantage, and the AL East standings have barely moved in the past ten games.
After pitching poorly for the past month, A.J. Burnett actually gave the Yankees a gem on Sunday when he allowed just one run in a complete game. Unfortunately for the Yanks' righty, the offense had an abysmal showing.
Bryan Bullington, 0-7 in his career since debuting in 2005, held the Yankee bats at bay despite not exactly having stellar stuff.
"This guy was very transparent,'' Alex Rodriguez said. "There was no guessing game. No secrets. He was throwing four-seamers all over the strike zone.''
Girardi wasn't impressed either.
"I know when you haven't seen a guy, you're not exactly sure what he's gonna do to you, but we have a lot of good hitters in our lineup," said the skipper. "You look for the ball and you hit it, that's the bottom line.''
Bullington's 0-7 record makes him the pitcher with the worst career tally to beat the Yankees since 1946, reports ESPN.
The Yankees have failed to catch fire since the All-Star break, and Lance Berkman has been underwhelming since moving to the Bronx. To make matters worse, Berkman twisted his ankle while being doubled up in the fifth.
The Yankees head home to host Detroit Monday night. For the three competitors in the AL East, every game is a must win at this point.