Luis Severino and the New York Yankees face the Detroit Tigers on Friday. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK -- The final stretch of games against opponents with mostly losing records is producing some frustrating moments for the New York Yankees.
There were two lackluster losses to the Chicago White Sox, a team playing better of late but still on course for its sixth straight losing season.
Then there were the events of Thursday night against the Detroit Tigers when Dellin Betances allowed a two-run homer to Victor Martinez and a solo shot to Niko Goodrum in a span of three pitches to turn a two-run lead into an 8-7 loss.
After a disappointing series opener, the Yankees hope to rebound from a rare late-inning collapse Friday night when they continue a four-game set with Detroit at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees are nearing the end of a stretch in which they play 30 of 37 games against teams with losing records before heading to Oakland on Monday. They are 20-14 so far, with a 19-8 mark against teams under .500.
Three of those losses have come since the Yankees returned from a four-game series in Baltimore. They sandwiched a 5-4 win on Tuesday around losses of 6-2 and 4-1 to Chicago and then allowed five homers Thursday and lost for the second time in 71 games when leading after eight innings.
"We've got some guys moving around right now out of normal positions obviously with some guys down but it's continue to work, continue to grow, continue to get better," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "We are doing that, and we are seeing a lot of positive signs from that, but every now and then we're seeing some mistakes that to win big we've got to get better and curtail them."
The Yankees are 8 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL East after trimming the deficit to six games on Sunday. On Thursday, they wasted Giancarlo Stanton's 300th homer and Luke Voit's fourth homer with the Yankees that gave them a 7-5 lead into the ninth.
Betances was closing because Aroldis Chapman is a week into his disabled-list stint because of a knee injury. Since Chapman went down Betances and Zach Britton both have had save opportunities.
"He's pitched great for us all season," Stanton said of Betances. "If we get another save opportunity tomorrow, I am fully confident he can get the job done. Chalk this one up, it's a bad game for him. He'll be all right."
Friday is the last day to make waiver trades to get players eligible for the postseason and the Yankees will reportedly acquire Andrew McCutchen.
The Tigers are going for consecutive wins for the first time since Aug. 12-13. Detroit also is seeking consecutive road wins for the first time since July 15 in Houston and July 23 in Kansas City.
Winning the series opener ended a five-game losing streak where Detroit was outscored 34-10.
"We had really two of our worst games in Kansas City the last couple of days," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So this is really a nice comeback for us. We needed this because we were kind of bummed. The whole club, we didn't play good baseball in Kansas City. "
Martinez, who is likely playing his final series in New York, recorded his 12th career multi-homer game Thursday. The designated hitter owns the team record for RBIs by a switch-hitter with 533, surpassing Billy Rogell's record.
Jeimer Candelario and Ronny Rodriguez also homered for the Tigers, who last hit five homers in a game on Sept. 5, 2017.
After J.A. Happ endured his worst outing since joining the Yankees, Luis Severino (17-6, 3.27 ERA) takes the mound Friday for the Yankees and can become the major leagues' first 18-game winner.
He is trying to become the first Yankee to win at least 18 games since left-hander CC Sabathia was a 19-game winner in 2011. Severino also is trying to become the first Yankee right-hander to reach 18 wins since Phil Hughes in 2010.
Severino has won his last two starts after going 2-4 with a 7.50 ERA in his previous seven outings from July 7-Aug. 13. He last pitched Sunday night in Baltimore when he allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-3 win.
"That's first-half-of-the-year dominant fastball," Boone said. "The slider was still a little inconsistent for him. But I thought stuff-wise and being able to pitch with his fastball, he was electric. So hopefully another step forward for him."
He allowed one earned run and struck out 10 in eight innings in the first game of a doubleheader June 4 in Detroit.
Severino is 3-1 with a 2.19 ERA in four career starts against Detroit.
Jordan Zimmermann (6-6, 4.38) starts for the Tigers and has alternated wins and losses in his last four starts following a four-game losing streak. Zimmermann last pitched Sunday when he allowed five runs on eight hits in six innings of a 7-2 loss.
Zimmermann is 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees. His only career start in New York occurred Aug. 2, 2017, when he allowed six hits in seven innings of a 2-0 win in a game that featured a 4 1/2-hour rain delay.
The right-hander has issued one walk in his last four starts. In the two wins in that span, he has a 0.72 ERA. In the two defeats, he owns a 9.00 ERA.