BALTIMORE, Md. — There was frustration at the bookends, a glimmer of positive momentum in the middle but it all summed up to a baffling mediocre split for the New York Yankees in their series against the Baltimore Orioles. More proof that this team needs to learn to show up every day. Other teams aren’t going to faint simply because you showed up in a New York uniform. A fundamentally flawed and frustrating team this squad is.
This game was stupid and an epic waste of time. The Yankees had a short leash and babied Deivi Garcia with four frames before sending him back to the Alternate Site. They got dunked on by Matt Harvey like it was 2013. They balked. Oh, and they can’t run the bases properly. It was a pathetic 4-2 loss.
Right out of the shoot, Garcia yielded a lead-off solo swat to Cedric Mullins, who also went deep against Justin Wilson in the seventh inning, for the 1-0 advantage in the first frame. In total, Garcia went four frames, 65 pitches, allowed two runs on three hits and three walks, and four Ks. Way to “build him up” down there at the Alternate Site.
SMOOTH MOVE ACE
Trailing 2-1 in the sixth inning, Darren O’Day balked a run in. So that was swell.
BAD BASERUNNING, BAD MANAGING, BAD UMPIRING, BAD REPLAY, BAD
During the eighth inning, it was a debacle. Rougned Odor, batting cleanup, because somebody thought that was a good idea, struck out against Tanner Scott with the bases loaded for the second out.
Facing Cesar Valdez, Gio Urshela singled home Clint Frazier. Yet, on the same play, Aaron Judge made the third out at third base, a cardinal sin in baseball. Somehow, either he was loafing or really slow but with two outs, DJ LeMahieu didn’t touch home plate before that third out was ruled by the umpire. Rather than instantly challenging, manager Aaron Boone went through “the process” and hence the umpires wouldn’t allow him to challenge for taking too long. If we’re not going to use replay, why have it?
It looked like LeMahieu did touch home before the third out was recorded but it shouldn’t have been close. In any event, it didn’t matter because the Yankees probably would’ve lost 4-3 instead of 4-2.
It was a much improved all-around game for the Yankees in their 5-1 victory. Timely hitting. Power hitting. Some actual length out of a starter. The post-Mike Tauchman era started out well.
YANKS SAC UP
It only took 23 games but it finally happened. Urshela lifted the first Yankee sac fly RBI to center, off Bruce Zimmerman, for a 1-0 edge in the first frame.
JUDGIE JUICED ONE
Why run the bases when you can trot? Slowly but surely we have ourselves a home run race between Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Judge thwacked a 1-1 blast to left-center, off Zimmerman in the third inning.
The Kyle Higashioka factor is a real thing. New York’s backstop helped Corey Kluber not only make it out of the fourth frame but a whole 6.2 innings! Kluber fanned five, scattered six hits, walked two, and yielded one run. His fastball was up a tick and he appeared to have more bite on his pitches.
In addition to behind the dish, Higashioka helped out at the dish, popping a home run to right-center off Zimmerman in the fourth frame.
Again, why run when you can trot? During the seventh inning, Stanton smashed an 0-1 slider to dead center off former Yankee farmhand Dillon Tate, capping off the scoring at 5-1. It was Stanton’s sixth home run of the season.
Mind you the Yankees played a pair of blowout contests at the Stadium against the O’s but this hit different. It seemed like the Yankees were clicking. The power was there and believe it or not, a second consecutive quality outing from a starter not named Gerrit Cole. Everything added up to a 7-0 blanking.
FORD TURNING POINT OF THE GAME
During the second stanza, Mike Ford popped off against Dean Kremer, launching a first-pitch fastball oppo taco to left for the 1-0 advantage. That would be all the Bombers would need on this evening.
Facing Shawn Armstrong with the bases loaded in the fifth frame, Aaron Hicks lifted a sac fly RBI to center, for the second in as many nights for New York.
Frazier, who also had a baserunning faux pas in this one, eventually made up for it by ripping a rocket to left off a 2-2 fastball offering from Tyler Wells in the eighth. It’s funny, I advocated for him to be our t-shirt time guy before the season started but he hadn’t hit any homers to that point and literally the day we publicly announce Judge as the guy, Frazier finally gets on the board. Or as Yankee broadcaster John Sterling might say, “that’s baseball, Suzyn.”
Call it the Higgy effect, he did call a nice game and made a nice sliding grab on a foul pop, but the rapport appeared to be there again with Domingo German on the bump. German held the Orioles without a hit for 4.2 frames. On the whole, he was spotting his pitches with effect. All six of German’s K’s came on breaking pitches, including an emphatic end to this night in the seventh inning to retire Ryan Mountcastle on a curveball. German tossed seven scoreless, yielded three hits, and issued one free pass. Yet another quality start.
On another note for the Yankee pitching, Michael King, poor dude can’t catch a break. King upped his scoreless streak to 11 consecutive innings, tossing two with two K’s to end the game. After the game, he was sent to the Alternate Site. I know he has options but why him?
Oh, I was dead wrong. So, so, wrong. There was so much irritating about this game, a contest that shouldn’t have even been that close or gotten to the point where this team endured a frustratingly stupid 4-3 loss in extra innings.
The Yankees trailed early when Trey Mancini singled a run with a base knock to left off Jordan Montgomery during the first frame.
New York would bounce back in the fifth, despite a 3-for-14 matinee with RISP and 12 left on base. With Jorge Lopez out, Odor plated a pair with a two-run single to right off Adam Plutko for the 2-1 edge.
Yet, that lead would leave faster than Mancini turned on a 1-1 cutter to left-center off Montgomery in the sixth inning for the equalizer.
Fast forward to the eighth inning with Darren O’Day on and having issued a walk to Mullins, Austin Hays doubled to center and an all-around terrible relay from Hicks to Torres to Gary Sanchez, as Mullins scored to put the O’s back out front 3-2.
However, the Yankees would battle back in the ninth inning. The rally was like pulling teeth. Ford walked, Gardner got punched out, LeMahieu walked, Stanton (who was 9-for-19 in the series but somehow with only one RBI in the series) whiffed, and Torres smashed a game-tying ground-rule double to left-center off Valdez. It was an unfortunate hop because LeMahieu certainly would’ve scored the go-ahead run, especially running with two outs.
Hence, that meant extra innings and another debacle. Facing Scott, Tyler Wade (why is he still on the roster?) couldn’t be trusted to swing away and bunted foul on the third strike for an out. Pathetic! Hicks proceeded to ground out. Sanchez was intentionally walked. Ford struck out and the Yankees failed to score.
During the home half, Loaisiga was the tough-luck loser. The Orioles won the game without the virtue of a hit, thanks Rob Manfred. Pat Valaika, who could get down a bunt, advanced Ramon Urias to third base. Mullins lofted a fly ball to center, on which Hicks made an awful throw that I believe was somewhere in the direction of home plate and Urias scampered home with the winning run. Awful.
At 11-14, the Yankees return home to host the Detroit Tigers for a three-game series beginning Friday evening at Yankee Stadium.
Pitching probables, Tarki Skubal vs. Gerrit Cole, Spencer Turnbull vs. Jameson Taillon, José Ureña vs. Corey Kluber.