Well that was frustrating. Every time the Orioles seemed to get something going, the Yankees responded. Ultimately, they came out on top winning the game 4-3. Probably worth noting this game also aired on MLB Network and got their new Statcast treatment. I did not watch that broadcast because, well... I forgot it was going to be on. What can I say, turning on MASN is a habit.
Things got off to quick start in the 1st inning. Jimmy Paredes hit a home run to give the O's the 1-0 lead. The Orioles wouldn't get any other baserunners, but they did work the pitch count up to 21 on Nathan Eovaldi. It looked like they might have a good night. But then in the bottom of the 1st, The Yankees got a couple quick singles by Ellsbury and Gardner. In my series preview, I mentioned how Alex Rodriguez had three home runs against Chris Tillman, and he nearly had his fourth in the this inning, but Delmon Young was able to somehow make a great catch in right field to rob him. But Ellsbury scored to make it 1-1. Mark Teixiera came up and hit the ball hard to Delmon Young who made a great throw to get him out at second base. It was still enough to score Brett Gardner though, and the O's were quickly down 2-1.
In the third, the Orioles would tie it up off a Caleb Joseph home run, his third of the year. Caleb Joseph has been a nice surprise on the offense this year, which is great. Guys like him and Paredes have been stepping up to help the offense out, but then you have guys like Chris Davis and Steve Pearce who have struggled. It's tough to win when the guys you count on don't produce. In the bottom of the third, A-Rod would have his revenge and get that home run off Tillman, this time too far past the wall for anyone to rob him. That was career number 661 for him and the Yankees fans gave him a standing ovation. I'm not going to get on a high horse and say they're cheering for a cheater and he didn't earn those home runs. Whatever. The runs still count and he's been playing well lately. The score was now 3-2.
The Orioles would tie it up yet again in the fifth inning after two consecutive doubles by Snider and Joseph to start the inning off. This is really where it seemed like they might have something going. Eovaldi was still in and seemed to be struggling. Machado was next up and would bunt. He's been decent at bunting this season and I like that he's trying different things to get on base. This bunt was a little short, and even though he would be out at first, Joseph got to third base with only one down. After that, Paredes would draw a walk (he can do it all!), but was picked off by Eovaldi for the second out. The guys in the booth kind of made a big deal about it, but it probably didn't matter because after that Adam Jones would ground out to 2nd, and if Paredes had still been on 1st, it likely would have been a double play. Adam Jones is another guy who couldn't get anything going tonight, and even though he's been great this season, it would have really been nice to see him do something against the division leaders after losing two in a row. But the O's still scored and made it a 3-3 game.
But again, that wouldn't last as the Yankees got two doubles in the bottom of the 5th to make it 4-3. The first one was by Gardner, and even though he was safe, it was close as Delmon Young threw it right at Pearce from the right field corner.
Delmon Young continued to make plays as he singled to lead off the sixth. Chris Davis came up next, but he continued to do nothing by striking out. It was his 43rd strikeout of the season. More on that later. Steve Pearce singled though and moved Young to second. J.J. Hardy hit a grounder that should have been a double play, but Pearce made one of those slides in 2nd that broke it up. He seems to love it doing that, and I'm fine with it. After that, Eovaldi was gone and Justin Wilson would come in to finish the inning. The O's rally would fall short.
Chris Tillman came in for the 6th, which was a little surprising but also kind of refreshing. Sometimes I feel like Buck is too quick to get these starters out and I like that he gave Tillman the chance to finish it. He got north of 110 pitches before finally coming out with two outs and letting Tommy Hunter to come in to finish the inning.
After that it was a real bullpen game as each team would rotate in new guys to finish it up. Both Hunter and Brian Matusz would pitch well, which was good to see. Unfortunately, the Yankees finished up with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, who are about as lights out as a bullpen duo can be. The Yankees paid a lot of money to acquire Miller. I don't begrudge him for taking the money and I'm glad the Orioles didn't try and outbid them. But watching him come in and pitch so well for the Yankees hurts more than I thought it would.
A couple other notes:
- I mentioned above Delmon Young made some good plays in right field, and he did. But one thing I could not understand is how so many line drives over first base landed out there. There must have been four or five of them. With so many lefties in the Yankees lineup, don't you make an adjustment at some point? Or was he just that slow?
- Chris Davis finished with four strikeouts on the night to make it 44 on the year. Mark Reynolds holds the honor of most strikeouts in a year in 2009 with 223. Chris Davis is on pace for 274. Of course, Reynolds also hit 44 HRs that year. Davis is on pace for 37. It's probably too early to make these predictions, and if Davis finishes with 37 homers, its likely no one will care about those Ks, but which one of those numbers do you think he's more likely to reach?
- It was great to see J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado connect on that double play in the third inning.
- Steve Pearce played well at second base, even making a great grab out to rob Ellsbury of a hit in the fourth inning. With Flaherty likely to return tomorrow, I'm guessing we'll see less of Pearce at second, but I certainly wouldn't mind him playing there more if that's what keeps his bat in the lineup. I mentioned above how he's been struggling this season and I think its fair to say he has, but he also seems to be getting better. Flaherty was off to a nice start before he got hurt, so let's see how he does coming back, but with Schoop likely out a long time a Pearce/Flaherty platoon at second may not be so bad.
- Everth Cabrera went on the DL right before the game to make room for Hardy. I guess he got hit on the foot by a pitch last night. Did anyone check the tape on that? Guys get hit by pitches all the time, but they rarely go on the DL, unless maybe its a head shot. It doesn't much matter though, don't think anyone was sad to see him go. Hopefully he has a nice long rehab stint.
- Ryan Lavarnway came in to pinch hit for Snider in the 9th, with the lefty Miller on the mound. Snider's career OPS against lefties is .718. His career OPS against righties is .722. Snider has over 1600 career at-bats in the majors, Lavarnway has less than 300. With the game on the line and the tying run on base, I can't say I agree with that move.
The Orioles will try to get back on track tomorrow in Game 2 against the