NEW YORK — Perhaps no team is looking forward to returning from a West Coast trip more than the New York Yankees.
The first game of the trip went well, but the next six were nightmares in several ways.
The Yankees to rebound from the rough trip and snap their season-high six-game losing streak on Tuesday when they host the Los Angeles Angels in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
A week ago, the Yankees had a six-game winning streak and were a season-best 15 games above .500 at 38-23. Now the Yankees are 38-29, which certainly is good enough but disappointing based on recent results.
Each loss was by three runs or fewer and the pitching staff posted a 5.68 ERA, allowed nine homers and 24 walks to raise the team’s ERA from 3.55 to 3.74. Opponents batted .292 (62-for-212) against the Yankees and scored 11 times in the seventh inning or later.
“Very disappointing,” left fielder Brett Gardner said. “No other way to describe it. Doesn’t feel good to lose.”
Or as manager Joe Girardi said in stating the obvious: “Not very fun.”
Now the Yankee return to the place where they had a good time before leaving. The Yankees are 22-9 at home and scored 55 runs during five straight wins before the trip.
“These are the times you find out what you’re made of as a team,” Yankees designated hitter Matt Holliday said. “The season’s not going to go easily, there’s going to be ups and downs. We’re in a little bit of a downturn.”
For the most part, it’s the pitching in a downturn for the Yankees. New York scored 25 runs in the final six games, batted .262 and was .286 with runners in scoring position while rookie Aaron Judge hit two more home runs to up his major league-leading total to 23.
“You know at some point you’re going to go through some tough spells,” Girardi said. “We just went through one and we have to bounce back on Tuesday.”
New York’s last seven-game skid was April 20-27, 2007, and the Yankees encounter an opponent that has hovered around .500 for most of the season.
After winning two close games against the Yankees in the late innings last week at home, the Angels (36-37) dropped three of four to the Kansas City Royals. While Los Angeles scored nine runs in its only win of the series Saturday, the Angels scored just six times in the three losses and batted .216 in those games.
That number was aided by getting 12 hits in Sunday’s 7-3 loss, including three from Kole Calhoun. Calhoun is batting .359 (23-for-64) with five homers and 16 RBIs this month.
It did not include any hits from Albert Pujols, who is batting .185 this month. Pujols had three hits Saturday and is up to 1,865 career RBIs and 602 homers.
The Angels will be looking to reach .500 for the 18th time this season but are hoping for more production from an offense missing Mike Trout as they begin an eight-game trip. The Angels are 7-31 when scoring three runs or fewer and will look to rebound after going 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position Sunday.
“We have the guys capable of scoring more runs than we have,” Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons said. “We get chances and we just don’t string hits together.”
“You’ve got to keep feeding the beast, putting guys in scoring position, and hopefully guys will come through with the hit you need,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “At times we have, but for most of the first half, we haven’t.”
The Angels did not produce consistently in clutch spots last Tuesday by going 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position against Michael Pineda, who gets the start for the Yankees. Pineda allowed five runs and 10 hits in six innings during a no-decision that could have gone even worse for the right-hander.
But indicative of how Pineda has performed most of the season, the showing against the Angels raised his ERA to 3.71 and WHIP to 1.18. Pineda is 7-3 this season and 6-1 with a 1.96 ERA in seven home starts.
Before laboring against the Angels, he allowed an unearned run and four hits in seven innings during a 9-1 win over the Red Sox on June 8.
Pineda is 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA in three career starts against the Angels.
Parker Bridwell will make his second career start and fifth career appearance.
Bridwell’s other start was May 30 against the Atlanta Braves when he allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of a 9-3 victory. He is 2-3 with a 4.28 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Salt Lake.
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