After losing four in Chicago, the Yanks went to Boston and dropped two more last weekend. The reasons were the same as those revealed in that big game in New York on August 7. Weakness No. 1: the power hitters did not hit. Weakness No. 2: the relief pitching was inadequate when Berra dared to use it. Weakness No. 3: the pinch hitters were worse than the regulars when Yogi dared try them.
Weakness No. 1—three singles and a double were the extent of the Yankee attack—and a rare error by Second Baseman Bobby Richardson that led to Chicago's winning run nullified some good pitching, both starting and relieving, by Ralph Terry, Whitey Ford and Pete Mikkelson. After Richardson's error put the White Sox ahead 2-0 in the seventh inning, the Yankees came back with a run in the eighth but might have had a bigger inning if Manager Yogi Berra had a stronger bench. With a man on first and no outs, he called on his best pinch hitter, Mickey Mantle, who had not played because of an injured left knee. Mantle hobbled to the plate and weakly popped out. Charge this game to puny hitting by the regulars and a lack of reserve power.
All three major weaknesses contributed to this 4-3 loss to the White Sox in 10 innings. New York actually led 3-0 at the end of seven. It was the 16th time this season that the Yankees have lost a game after leading in the sixth inning or later, a sharp indictment of the bullpen. Starter Al Downing was fast for seven innings, during which he gave up only two hits. He began to tire noticeably in the eighth when he served up a three-run homer to tie the score, and he finally lost the game in the 10th when he allowed three line-drive singles. Berra showed his disdain for his bullpen when he let his starting pitcher bat for himself at the start of the 10th inning. Downing, of course, went out quickly, as did the Yankee nonhitters after him. Charge this game to weaknesses No. 2 and No. 3, especially No. 2.
The strong New York defense, so far the only thing left that reminded fans of bygone Yankee teams, finally succumbed, too. Four unearned runs, on three critical errors, were thrust upon the White Sox, and that was all they needed to win 4-2. After Starter Jim Bouton had made the first two errors on the same play for Chicago's first two unearned runs, Clete Boyer missed a tag-out at third to load the bases for the White Sox. Bouton then walked Jim Landis, pushing in the winning run, and Reliever Mikkelson allowed a long sacrifice fly to send in the insurance run. The Yankees could muster only eight scattered hits, six of them singles. Charge this game to surprisingly poor defense, light hitting and, once again, inadequate relief.
Weakness No. 1 was the culprit again as Chicago's Johnny Buzhardt shut out the Yankees 5-0, allowing seven singles. When Berra gazed at his bench in the late innings he saw Phil Linz and Archie Moore, a pleasant youngster who makes a living with the Yankees as a pinch runner. Both were used as pinch hitters, and both were quick outs. The game itself was lost in the first four innings when Whitey Ford faced 19 men and gave up nine singles and all the Sox runs.
Weakness No. 1 was glaringly underlined as the Yankees faced an ordinary Red Sox pitcher named Bob Heffner, winner of but five games all season, and got only six hits, all of them singles, and no runs. The relief pitching was also shoddy, but that did not matter too much this time. After Ralph Terry left the game at the end of the sixth inning with the score 3-0, Reliever Stan Williams insured the Yankee defeat by giving up a grand slam home run in a final 7-0 Boston victory.
The Yankees almost got away with a minimum of hitting, but poor pitching, both starting and relieving, finally did them in. They led the Red Sox 3-2 at the end of seven and a half innings by making five hits go a long way. In the bottom of the eighth, Al Downing tossed a fat home run pitch with a man on base, and the Sox went ahead 4-3. After Downing walked the next batter, Mikkelson came on in relief and forced in a run on three straight bases on balls. Charge this game to mediocre hitting and awful relieving.