Yankees 5, Orioles 6: Hello, Darkness, My Old Friend

Another frustrating loss in Baltimore.

BALTIMORE – Dellin Betances has been here before.

September 5, 2017: Manny Machado hits a walk-off home run on a hanging breaking ball from Betances to beat the Yankees.

July 10, 2018: Jonathan Schoop pokes a single off Betances to push the Orioles to a 6-to-5 walk-off win.

Losing twice in a four-game series to the last-place Orioles is beyond frustrating. Doing it while the Red Sox have lost just once in their last 10 games could be the difference between winning the division and suiting up in the Wild Card game.

Betances did not set himself up for success in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the game tied at 5, his 2-2 pitch hit .187-hitter Caleb Joseph to put the winning run the O’s needed on base. After retiring Tim Beckham, Adam Jones doubled into the gap to give them two runners in scoring position with one out. Machado, who already homered twice in the game, was intentionally walked in order to set up the double play with the slower Mark Trumbo due up. Once Trumbo struck out, that brought up Schoop.

On a 1-1 count, Schoop sent a ground ball toward first base that clanked off the glove of first baseman Greg Bird and into right field. That hit pushed the final run across and was the nail in the coffin for the Yankees. It was the first earned run allowed by Betances since a similarly frustrating loss May 23 against the Texas Rangers.

“It’s a play I want to make. That’s the way I classify it,” Bird said. “A big spot there. That’s a play I want to come up with. He put a decent swing on it. It rode up and I didn’t get [the glove] up in time. That’s it.”

The other five runs the Orioles scored came via the aforementioned Machado homers and a two-run double by Joey Rickard. The first Machado shot came on a get-me-over cutter at 89 mph from Masahiro Tanaka. The second blast, off Chad Green, came in a sequence of six consecutive fastballs to a hitter with a .311 batting average against heaters in 2018. For a team whose reputation is to not throw fastballs, they sure got burned by throwing fastballs in predictable situations.

Bird represented most of the Yankees offense, driving in four via a three-run home run in the fifth and sacrifice fly in the seventh. Neil Walker hit an RBI single in the seventh as well to give the Yankees a two-run lead that they ultimately could not hold. Each time they got a lead, Machado homered in the following half-inning to tie the game.

Didi Gregorius was the only Yankee with multiple hits in the game, as he went 3-for-4 with a double. His single in the fifth inning broke up O’s starter Andrew Cashner‘s perfect game.

Overall, Tanaka was disappointing in his return from the disabled list. He was limited to 80 pitches, and as a result, only made it through 4⅓ innings. In that time, he allowed three earned runs on six hits.

“As far as the fourth inning goes, maybe there was some bad luck there,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “What I’m most disappointed in was the fifth inning, that first pitch to Machado. I can’t do that. I have no excuse for that.”

The Yankees have now lost five out of their nine contests with the Orioles so far in 2018.


What’s Next:

Not exactly the most inspiring pitching matchup of all-time. Sonny Gray (5-7, 5.85 ERA), who has a 9.00 ERA in his last five starts, gets another opportunity against Dylan Bundy (6-8, 4.08 ERA).

This will be Gray’s final start of the first half, and if it goes badly, should be his last start in pinstripes. A team with World Series aspirations cannot be held down by a starting pitcher who has given up at least four runs in eight of his starts this season. As good as the Yankees offense is, they can’t be expected to bail Gray out every time he starts.

Game 90: Tanaka Time Once More

A pivotal piece of the Yankees rotation is back.

Wow, 90 games in already. The All-Star break is next week, and the trade rumors are going crazy. Outside of October, July might be my favorite baseball month.

July gets better for the Yankees today as they welcome Masahiro Tanaka back from the disabled list. The righty will make his first start since straining both hamstrings June 8 scoring on a sacrifice fly against the Mets. Tanaka’s two June starts saw him give up five earned runs across 10⅓ innings pitched. He has definitely benefitted from the Yankees prodigious offense, as evidenced by his 10 wins and 4.58 ERA. Through his 13 starts this season, they score 6.71 runs on average behind him.

Tanaka’s counterpart on the hill will be veteran righty Andrew Cashner. The 31-year-old has a very similar ERA (4.39) but has just two wins on his ledger. That’s because the Orioles average just 2.61 runs behind him on the season. His last outing July 5 was quite respectable, where he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits through six innings. The O’s only scored two that day, so Cashner was saddled with the loss. He’s 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts against the Yankees this season, and 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA against the Bombers overall.

The starting lineup goes back to normal with yesterday’s doubleheader madness out of the way. Neil Walker gets a second consecutive start at second base, and will likely get most of the playing time there now that Brandon Drury has been optioned to Triple-A. Aaron Hicks bats third for the fifth time this season, where he’s hitting .308/.438/.538 coming into tonight’s game.


Pre-game Notes:

  • Miguel Andújar is simply ignoring the swirling Manny Machado trade rumors, which are magnified given that the Yankees are playing in Baltimore currently. “Those are things I have no control of. To me it’s about doing what I can, worrying about what I need to do here,” Andújar said to Erik Boland. “I don’t pay attention to that stuff.”
  • Gary Sánchez ran the bases on the field at Oriole Park under the watchful eyes of first base coach Reggie Willits and strength and conditioning director Matthew Krause. If he doesn’t encounter any setbacks, he could go on a minor-league rehab assignment as soon as this weekend.
  • Aaron Boone told Boland that Tanaka would have a pitch count “in the range of 80 tonight”.
  • Gleyber Torres (right hip strain) was seen throwing on the field while Sánchez did his baserunning drills. MLB announced today that he would be replaced on the American League All-Star roster by Oakland Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie.
  • Prior to tonight’s game, right-hander David Hale, who was designated for assignment July 7, elected free agency in lieu of an outright assignment to the minors. He did this in May as well, but wound up re-signing with the Yankees on a minor league contract four days later.

Baltimore Orioles Lineup:

  1. Tim Beckham – 3B
  2. Adam Jones – CF
  3. Manny Machado – SS
  4. Mark Trumbo – DH
  5. Jonathan Schoop – 2B
  6. Chris Davis – 1B
  7. Trey Mancini – LF
  8. Joey Rickard – RF
  9. Caleb Joseph – C

Yankees 10, Orioles 2: That’s More Like It

Of course, Cessa throws six scoreless when the Yankees score 10 behind him.

After an incredibly frustrating opener to the doubleheader Monday in Baltimore, the Yankees made sure to not make the same mistake twice. They clobbered Orioles’ pitching in game two to take a decisive 10-to-2 victory in the nightcap.

Seventeen hits provided 10 runs of offense to back a surprisingly effective Luis Cessa, who pitched six scoreless innings while scattering three hits. The Yankees got homers and RBI doubles from Brett Gardner and Austin Romine, as part of a four-hit night for Gardy and a two-hit evening for Romine. Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton and Neil Walker all picked up two hits. Every other Yankees starter recorded at least one hit (Tyler Wade pinch-ran for Gregorius in the eighth inning and flew out in his only plate appearance).

The second game Monday night was a beautiful example of every player doing their job. The hitters produced plenty of offense, Cessa gave the team a quality start in a pinch and 26th man Giovanny Gallegos made sure the Yankee bullpen didn’t get overtaxed. Gallegos’ performance is of paramount importance given the next two starters’ possibility of struggling. Masahiro Tanaka is returning from injury, while Sonny Gray has proven time and again that he simply can’t give the team length.

Postgame, both Cessa and Gallegos were optioned and “returned,” respectively, back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Coincidentally, they were sent down right in time for the International League All-Star break.

What’s Next

Masahiro Tanaka comes off of the disabled list and returns to the rotation to face Andrew Cashner of the Orioles.

Rosenthal: Yankees Emerging in Manny Machado Sweepstakes

Well, this was unexpected.

Ken Rosenthal is reporting via The Athletic  that “according to major-league sources, the Yankees are showing increased interest in [Manny] Machado,” the Orioles star infielder who was just named the starting shortstop for the American League All-Star team.

An acquisition of Machado would leave a lot to unpack. He’s said he wants to be a shortstop, so what happens to Didi Gregorius? Miguel Andújar has been impressive at third base: does he end up in the minors or shipped out for a top-line starting pitcher? What about Brandon Drury?

Machado has made it clear that he would like to be a shortstop in the future, but defensive metrics show that third base is where he’s truly elite on defense. At the plate, his skills continue to impress: .309/.379/.555 with 21 home runs in 2018.

Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports confirmed the Yankees have checked in with the Orioles on “Machado, starting pitching and relievers,” which would be congruent with reports from Rosenthal and Fancred’s Jon Heyman. Heyman linked the Yankees to Orioles closer Zach Britton.

Would the Yankees trade Andújar for an ace (think Jacob deGrom) if it meant landing Machado? Would they beef up the prospect package to an AL East rival if it meant the inclusion of Britton? It would certainly be a blockbuster, but there’s really only one way to find out.

If the Yankees can ensure Machado would willingly play third base, and can make the money work so that they can remain under the luxury tax threshold to add starting pitching, they should definitely make the Machado trade if the price is right.

Game 89: How About We Don’t Lose to Baltimore?

Well, it’s time to flush Game One out of our systems. Game Two is upon us.

Luis Cessa makes his second spot start of the season. The righty got smacked around a bit June 27 by the Phillies, where allowed three earned runs on five hits. The three runs scored on a Rhys Hoskins first-row home run.

Former Yankees farmhand Yefry Ramírez gets the ball for the O’s in the nightcap. He has pitched well thus far, allowing just four earned runs 14⅓ innings. He also faced the Phillies in his last start, going five innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on just one hit. However, he took the loss in that outing.


  • Brandon Drury was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Cessa tonight. Boone called it “one of those awful decisions,” and said Drury does not belong at Triple-A.

Baltimore Orioles Lineup

  1. Tim Beckham – 3B
  2. Jonathan Schoop – 2B
  3. Manny Machado – SS
  4. Mark Trumbo – DH
  5. Chris Davis – 1B
  6. Danny Valencia – RF
  7. Jace Peterson – LF
  8. Joey Rickard – CF
  9. Chance Sisco – C

Yankees 4, Orioles 5: Or Not…

CC Sabathia ended up staying for a few batters too many, as Danny Valencia‘s three-run home run proved fatal in the opening game of Monday’s doubleheader in Baltimore.

In the bottom of the sixth, the veteran lefty walked Mark Trumbo, allowed a “double” to Jonathan Schoop (hard ground ball right at Neil Walker that should have been at least a 3-6 force) and then Valencia took CC 415 feet to dead central.

The Yanks scored first as Giancarlo Stanton ripped his 22nd homer of the year in the second inning. In the third, Kyle Higashioka doubled, Tyler Wade singled and then two consecutive singles from Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees two more runs.

In the bottom of the fourth, Trumbo (who came into the game .282/.300/.462 lifetime against Sabathia) smoked a two-run shot to make it 3-2. A Stanton single, Clint Frazier groundout and single from Walker gave the Yankees their fourth run.

It’s pretty clear that Aaron Boone could not use his usual pitching strategy because today is a doubleheader. He left Sabathia in after the leadoff walk to Trumbo, which should have spelt the end for him. He definitely should have been lifted after the Schoop double. It felt like Jonathan Holder was too little too late. Also, I find it quite odd that he went to the long-man, A.J. Cole, in the first game of the doubleheader, when Luis Cessa is scheduled to start the second game. I guess that’s why they recalled Giovanny Gallegos, though.

Wow. That was one of the most frustrating experiences for the 2018 Yankees. I hope the bats can break out to back Cessa because their inability to beat the Orioles is downright ridiculous.

What’s Next

More baseball. Luis Cessa has been recalled to face former farmhand Yefry Ramírez in the nightcap. Ramírez was traded to the Orioles for international bonus pool space (and a 40-man roster spot) minutes before the Sonny Gray acquistion at last year’s trade deadline.

Brandon Drury was optioned to Triple-A to create an active roster spot for Cessa.

Game 88: Let’s Play (and Win) Two!

Well, these games had to be made up at some point. Might as well win two in one day.

CC Sabathia gets the call in game one of today’s doubleheader with the Baltimore Orioles. The veteran lefty continues to anchor the back of the Yankees’ rotation, pitching to a solid 3.02 ERA through 16 starts so far on the season. He has won each of his last two starts, pitching seven and six innings respectively against Boston and Atlanta. The Orioles roughed him up for three runs over four innings in a game the Yanks eventually lost in 14 innings.

The O’s send righty Jimmy Yacabonis to the hill for his second career appearance as a starter. He started June 28 against Seattle, pitching into the fifth inning and allowing two earned runs. Yacabonis was recalled by the team as the “26th Man” for the doubleheader, so it’s likely that he’s headed back down to Norfolk tomorrow.

This lineup embodies all of the craziness of a doubleheader. It seems there’s a B-team and an A-team, and the B-team is starting behind Sabathia. Clint Frazier is starting in left field. Neil Walker is back at first base, while Tyler Wade gets his first start at second since being recalled. That pushes Brandon Drury over to third base, where he makes his third consecutive start. Kyle Higashioka catches Sabathia.

Giovanny Gallegos has been recalled as the Yankees’ “26th Man” for the doubleheader. It’s worth noting that Luis Cessa is still scheduled as the starter for Game 2, so expect a roster move to be made between games.


Some injury updates:

  • Masahiro Tanaka will return from the disabled list to start tomorrow.
  • Jonathan Loáisiga (right shoulder inflammation) received a cortisone shot in that shoulder and will be shut down for a few weeks.
  • Gary Sánchez was seen participating in agility drills in the outfield today, and is scheduled for on-field batting practice tomorrow. Sánchez could be sent on a minor-league rehab assignment as soon as this weekend, per Aaron Boone.

Baltimore Orioles Lineup

  1. Tim Beckham – 3B
  2. Adam Jones – CF
  3. Manny Machado – SS
  4. Mark Trumbo – DH
  5. Jonathan Schoop – 2B
  6. Danny Valencia – RF
  7. Joey Rickard – LF
  8. Trey Mancini – 1B
  9. Caleb Joseph – C

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