New York Yankees slugger Juan Soto is being honest about facing the Atlanta Braves' Chris Sale. Sale and Atlanta held the Bronx Bombers to just one run on Friday, in a 8-1 victory. Soto was 0-for-4 in the game.

“He's a great pitcher, and tonight he made great pitches,” Soto said. The Yankees outfielder also commended Sale for keeping batters off-balance with his throws.

The Yankees are struggling. The team has lost five of their last six games, and they have been boat raced in their last two contests. New York has given up a staggering 32 runs in the last three games alone. This is a drastic turn of events for the club, who surged out to 50 wins faster than any other MLB team this season.

The lack of solid pitching in recent games for the Yankees is baffling. New York had the best ERA in baseball of any team, per MLB stats, heading into mid-June. That seems completely shattered, as the team hasn't been able to find a solid arm it can rely on recently. The Yankees gave up 17 runs to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, in arguably its worst loss of the season.

Injuries have also shaken the team. Soto was out hurt for a period of time, then Anthony Rizzo went down with a fractured wrist. Even Aaron Judge has been banged up. New York is searching for some answers at the moment, as the team has quickly found themselves sitting nearly in second place in the American League East. New York has a 51-27 record, half a game ahead of Baltimore.

Juan Soto's performance against Braves

New York Yankees right fielder Juan Soto (22) watches from the top step of the dugout as third baseman DJ LeMahieu (26) bats during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Yankee Stadium.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One of the reasons why New York has done well this year is due to Soto. The outfielder is batting .304 on the year, with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs. Soto is in a slump, however. He only has one hit in his last five games. With Soto struggling, so are the Yankees. New York has managed just one win in those last five games. Soto hasn't homered since June 15. He also has only that one home run since June 2.

Soto's slump continued against Sale on Friday. The Braves hurler tossed a spectacular game, giving up only one run on one hit through five innings. Sale also had eight strikeouts, swatting Yankees batters away like flies. Soto struck out three times in the game, helping to contribute to those stats.

In one of the strikeouts, Soto got caught looking on a slider from Sale in the fourth inning. The Yankee slugger argued with the umpire over the call, and that didn't go over well with the Braves color analyst Darren O'Day. O'Day blasted Soto for his comments to the home plate umpire.

“Good pitch,” O’Day said, per Awful Announcing. “God that infuriates me watching Juan Soto complain to the umpire. It’s definitely a perfectly executed slider down and away. Go back to the dugout, look at it on the iPad and you struck out, fair and square. It’s the same strike zone for you. I’m done.”

The Yankees are back in action Saturday against the Braves. The first pitch is at 7:15 Eastern. New York could surely use a win, and Soto could use a great performance at the plate.