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Yankees fail to get better now or in the future by standing pat

NEW YORK – It would be irresponsible to speculate on the source of the expletive. The voice came from somewhere deeper in the Yankees clubhouse than the media are allowed to venture. The sentiment, however, was clear and unmistakable.

At 10 p.m. ET Monday — after a lackluster 5-1 loss to the division-rival Rays, which came on the heels of a series loss to the division-leading Orioles — someone with the Yankees yelled a word that starts with “F” and rhymes with “schmuck” loud enough to be heard through the wall and puncture the haze of disappointment.

A few minutes later, Yankees captain Aaron Judge emerged to offer, if not answers, then at least some semblance of accountability. In his third game back from a lengthy injured list stint during which the team went 19-23, Judge walked three times with little lineup protection around him. Now, the reigning AL MVP — whose 199 OPS+ this season indicates that, when healthy, No. 99 has been 99% better than league average — offered his assessment of how the Yankees ended up here.