August 15, 2023 | 10:08 pm
ATLANTA — As their season continues to unfold, the Yankees have hit .500 on the way down.
A team that played mediocre baseball for most of the season finally has the record to live up to after a fourth straight loss that dropped the Yankees to 60-60 on the year.
On another night when Luis Severino put the Yankees in an early hole, they were never able to recover as their offense barely came up with a one-hit effort while falling to the Braves, 5-0, on Tuesday at Truist Field.
The Yankees are now back at .500 for the first time since May 1, when they were 15-15, and have fallen to 6 ½ games behind the Blue Jays for the final AL wild card spot.
It’s the first time the Yankees have hit .500 this late in a season since 1995.
In addition to being in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2016, the Yankees could also soon be in danger of enduring their first losing season since 1992.
They haven’t been under .500 all season, but they’ll look to avoid that and a sweep in the series finale on Wednesday night.
The Yankees had a miserable night all around, recording more errors (two) than hits (one). Severino showed some signs of (relative) improvement, but still gave up five runs (three earned) in four innings.
Braves right-hander Bryce Elder entered the night with a 3.64 ERA but had a 7.94 ERA in his last six starts before Tuesday.
However, he pitched seven dominant innings in which he allowed just four base runners (three on walks), three of which were erased on double plays.
Gleyber Torres was responsible for two of those twin kills, both coming after Aaron Judge led off an inning with a walk.
Torres now has six double plays in his last six games, giving him 17 on the season, which is tied for fourth in MLB.
Severino gave up a hit to the first batter he faced, Ronald Acuña Jr., then made matters worse by making an errant pickoff throw to first base allowing Acuña to take third.
But Severino retired the next two batters and had a chance to get out of the inning unscathed when he counted out Matt Olson, who ended up drawing a walk.
Marcell Ozuna came up next, saw a hanging slider on the first pitch and lined it to center field for a three-run homer.
Severino walked a batter and struck out another, with the inning threatening to derail before he got the third out.
However, his first inning ERA this season is now 14.79.
In the second and third innings, Severino was much sharper, showing a glimpse of why the Yankees still believe he has the talent to turn things around.
He retired six of the seven batters he faced, striking out four – including two 99 mph whiffs.
But the Braves came back with some more hitting in the fourth inning.
After the leadoff hit came on a costly fielding error by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Severino retired the next two batters before Acuña lined a two-run homer to center for a 5-0 lead.
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