What a difference a week makes. A week ago I was extremely excited and optimistic about this Yankees team. Right now, the Yankees can’t seem to win and two of their young stars, Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez, are hurt. No one saw this team as a potential World Champion, but I always take solace in a slow start remembering that the 1998 Yankees also began the year 1-4. And I think today will be the day for the Yankees to turn it around, or at least win a game.
CC Sabathia, the only effective Yankees starter thus far, had the job of trying to salvage the last game of the series against the Orioles.
What follows were my thoughts of the game as it progressed:
Statistics can lie, or at least paint different pictures: Orioles starting pitcher Wade Miley has never defeated the Yankees. That would seem to indicate the Yankees might have a good day. Then again, the Yankees are 7-22 since 2014 at Camden Yards.
The top of the Yankees first (fly out, strikeout, walk and immediate pick-off) did not inspire much confidence.
Sabathia had a solid bottom of the first inning.
Aaron Judge seems to have more confidence batting this year than last year. He is one batter that I always pay attention to when he comes up. Moon shot home runs are always fun to watch.
Orioles starter Wade Miley walked four batters, combined, in the first two innings and the Yankees couldn’t score. Results like that make getting excited about a game difficult.
On the other hand, the Orioles made the most of the opportunities they had in the bottom of the second. Mark Trumbo led off with a walk, went to second on a single by Chris Davis, and scored on a fielder’s choice. Later J.J. Hardy singled home another run to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, Miley walked two more Yankees batters…and the Yanks still could not score. Frustrating.
Meanwhile, the Orioles seemed to be able to get base hits at will. And yet, Sabathia was able to coax an inning ending double play out of Trey Mancini to escape a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the third inning without giving up any runs.
The first perfect inning for the Orioles came in the top of the fourth when Chase Headley, Aaron Judge, and Austin Romine were retired in order by Wade Miley.
Ronald Torreyes made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left field in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Aaron Hicks got the first Yankees hit with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. A wild pick-off attempt by Miley allowed Hicks to go to second. Matt Holliday followed this with this third walk in three plate appearances. That walk was Miley’s seventh in the game. It didn’t matter, Chris Carter followed this “rally” by grounding out to shortstop.
The Yankees played some ugly baseball to start the bottom of the fifth. Adam Jones began the inning by hitting the ball back at Sabathia. The ball bounced off Sabathia’s leg, he scrambled to get the ball, but couldn’t pick it up in time. A few pitches later, Austin Romine missed a catchable pitch that resulted in a passed ball that allowed Jones to reach second base. Manny Machado then flew out to rightfield, but Adam Jones tagged and went to third. One pitch later Jones scored on a single by Mark Trumbo. After five innings, the Orioles enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Due to the walks, Wade Miley lasted only five innings. The Orioles brought in right-handed Tyler Wilson to begin the sixth inning. Wilson retired the first two batters, but then Aaron Judge hit a rocket single off the left field wall. He hit the ball so hard that he had no chance to turn the hit into a double. Following Judge, Austin Romine singled. Ronald Torreyes then came up. He had struck out with the bases loaded earlier in the game. This time, Torreyes (who reminds me of former Yankee Andy Stankiewicz) hit a two-run triple to the gap in right-center field. With eight runs batted in on the year, Torreyes leads the team in RBI’s. Brett Gardner then struck out. I like Gardner as much as the next day, but I am tired of watching him strike out.
When CC Sabathia retired Manny Machado to begin the sixth inning, it marked the first time this season that a Yankees starter recorded an out that “late” in a game. Sabathia then retired the next two batters to take the team into the seventh inning. Tyler Clippard would relieve Sabathia to begin the bottom seventh.
Befote that, the Yankees had a small rally in the top of the inning. With one out, Matt Holiday walked for the fourth time. Chris Carter followed with a single. It was for naught. Starlin Castro and Chase Headley followed with pop outs to end the mini-threat.
Clippard pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh.
Then...AARON JUDGE hit a game-tying home run to lead off the top of the eighth inning. I’d like to say I called it, and I did, but no one was around to hear me. Aaron Judge is a fun guy to root for. Torreyes then got another hit, but nothing else transpired and the Yankees went down quietly. In this, Brett Gardner struck out again.
Dellin Betances was brought in to begin the bottom of the eighth and did his job well. He retired the side striking out two batters along the way. The strikeout of Chris Davis went by Austin Romine, but, because of the brick wall behind home plate, bounced right back to the catcher who threw Davis out easily.
Darren O’Day took the mound for the Orioles to begin the top of the ninth. Matt Holiday led off with his fifth walk (!) of the game. He was the first Yankee to walk five times in a game since Mark Teixeira in 2009. Jacoby Ellsbury then pinch ran and stole second base. Chris Carter then walked becoming the tenth Yankee to walk in the game. With Starlin Castro up, the Yankees did not use the sacrifice bunt. Castro quickly fell behind 0-2 and then delivered a single up the middle to score Ellsbury. Those lead-off walks kill you (eventually). To continue the inning, Pete Kozma was sent in to pinch run for Carter at second base. Chase Headley then battled back from an 0-2 count to get to 3-2 where he walked to load the bases for Aaron Judge. Aaron hit a run scoring ground out to first base. (With the infield in, Chris Davis fielded the ball, and tripped negating any chance he would be able to get an out at home.) The Yankees lead stood at 5-3. Austin Romine then hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored two runs. Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop made a quick throw to third to try to catch Chase Headley who rounded the bag too far. The throw got away from Manny Machado and Headley scrambled home with the Yankees’ seventh run. After a Torreyes single, Buck Showalter finally removed O’Day from the game.
The Yankees went to Ardolis Chapman to close out the game in the bottom of the ninth. And he did just that. He struck out Shoop and J.J. Hardy with 101 MPH fastballs. Caleb Joseph then flew out to Aaron Judge, who made a sliding catch, to end the game.
The Yankees win. The Yankees Win.