The Yankees played their first game of Aaron Judge's long absence on Saturday. But the sudden failure of her ace, Luis Severino, could further upset the club.
A few days before the no-commitment close, Severino, an all-star, and a steady force at the forefront of the Yankees rotation, was the lowest-ranked American league team, the Kansas City Royals, in a 10-5 loss in the first Hammered game of a double player at Yankee Stadium.
"It's not easy for us now," manager Aaron Boone said after the second game, a 5: 4 Yankees comeback victory. "We go through one of these routes."
The Royals, who brought their best hitter Mike Moustakas to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, jumped on Severino for six runs and eight hits in four and a third innings.
Since closing the Boston Red Sox in a goalless outing on July 1, Severino has earned an 8.95 earned run average and has 33 hits in 19 allowed 1/3 innings. He had allowed 32 hits in his previous 47 1/3 innings.
Severino (14-3) said he needed to find a way to be "myself again".
"I do not know what the problem is," he said. "I've been through this in the past, I just have to work on things that are not working."
Lately, it has been difficult to determine what exactly failed. With 11 hits and six earned runs against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, Severino had no control over his breaking pitches. On Saturday his fastball was still zipped, but in contradictory directions.
"It was sort of scattered everywhere," Yankee catcher Austin Romine said. "I was trying to tell him that he should stay in the zone and throw it through me, he was quite divided on his fastball today."
Severino only ran one batsman (and hit another) but his arbitrary fastball Site forced him to work frequently in the count, allowing too many playing fields across the plate.  "As electrifying as his stuff is, the order of fastballs is key to him," said manager Aaron Boone. "That makes everything else."
The Royals, who averaged just over 3.5 runs per game, opened the scoring with a double win by Rosell Herrera in the third.
"After that," Severino said "I did not command my fastball."
It turned out. In the fifth, Salvador Perez was shivering in two more runs with a scheduled ride passing by Severino's outstretched glove. The next batter, Lucas Duda, hit a two-run homer to the right, scoring the result 6-0.
The Yankees have already added two of the season's most valued pitching goals and acquired Zach Britton of Baltimore and starter J.A. Happ from Toronto last week.
But as they struggle to win on the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox, the Yankees can hardly afford to lose faith in their ace.
"This is a bump in the season for him," said Boone. "He has everything to fix the ship."
It was the first game of the team without Judge, who will miss at least three weeks with a broken wrist after he was hit by a pitch on Thursday in the game. With Gary Sanchez until the end of August, the Yankees exchanged enthusiasts Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallego for the 27-year-old first baseman Luke Voit and the international signing bonus pool money against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Even Without Judge and Sanchez, the Yankees did not lack firepower. In the first game, Giancarlo Stanton took Judge's usual No. 2 rank in that order and sent a monstrous homer center 447 feet to put the Yankees on the board in the fifth.
Stanton then appeared with the charged bases of the following inning. A Yankees rally had reduced the deficit to 6-4, eliminated star pitcher Brad Keller and brought the sold-out stadium crowd to their feet. Stanton took another amazing hack and hit the ball hard to the right, but it went off steam in the warning lane to finish the inning.
In the seventh, Gleyber Torres doubles in a run with anyone with a drive from the right-side field wall. But since Didi met Gregorius, Torres tried to stretch his strike to a threesome and was easily thrown out.
"At that moment, I think I have a good opportunity to go to the third base," said Torres. "It was a bad decision."
It was a tough week on the base trails for the Yankees. On Monday, Sanchez jogged to ground for grounding to shortstop with the bases loaded to end the game. And in the second inning on Saturday, again loaded with the bases, Tyler Wade struck in a double game that did not need the ball to go over a foot. His tap from the plate was quickly stifled by the catcher Perez, who stepped on the house board and dropped Wade with a flat foot in the batter's box.
Boone did not criticize Wade because he did not run and called him a "funny" play. "
But it was Torre's attempt to make an extra game that eventually cost the Yankees a chance to tie in the position."
"That definitely hurt and was definitely a mistake," Boone said. "I like the fact that he was able to read, but it was not the right kind of reading."
In the following inning, a three-run homer from Kansas City Brian Goodwin put the game away [Aversionofthisarticleappearsinprinton on page SP 4 of the New York edition with the headline: and ] With Severino Struggling again, Yankees fall to royals . Order Reprint | Today's Paper | Subscription ren