Another day, another big loss at home. The Orioles played a game on Saturday night that no one could be blamed for turning off early. The pitching was abysmal, the hitting was bad, and the reduced-capacity crowd was strongly pro-Yankee and made themselves heard over and over. The end result was an 8-2 loss that grossly sent many fans at Camden Yards home happy.
If you had high hopes for Jorge López tonight based on his last game in which he pitched into the sixth inning against the Red Sox, I have some bad news for you. He was bad tonight, pitching just two innings on a night when the Orioles really could have used a long outing. They still haven’t named a starter for tomorrow and could go with a bullpen game, so having to use up a lot of relief pitchers wasn’t a great position to be in.
López did himself no favors in the first inning with two walks sandwiched around a single that loaded the bases with no outs. He did strike out Gio Urshela for the first out, but a passed ball from Chance Sisco allowed one run to score, and then Gary Sanchez lined a single to center to knock in two more.
Though he was able to get out of the inning with no more runs allowed, he did hit a batter and ended up throwing 39 pitches. You generally do not want to throw 39 pitches in one inning.
Two more runs came in to score in the second inning on an Aaron Judge home run. We all know Judge is capable of hitting some monster shots, but by his standards this one was a fence scraper. It traveled 385 feet and gave the Yankees a 5-0 lead.
López was pulled after two innings and Keegan Akin was inserted. There had been speculation that Akin might start tomorrow’s game, but now that was out of the question.
If you’re looking for silver lining in tonight’s game, Akin might be it. His pitching line doesn’t look good, but he pitched three good innings in relief. Aside from one very hard hit lineout from Judge (expected BA of .800, yowza!), Akin wasn’t getting lucky by facing only nine batters in those three innings. He looked good.
Unfortunately, it kind of fell apart for him in the sixth inning. He did get an out, but also gave up three singles to load the bases and end his evening. He was relieved by Tyler Wells, who did him no favors. His first act upon coming into the game was to balk in a run. Ouch! He also gave up a two-run single to Luke Voit to make the score 8-0 as the Yankee fans rained down a “LUUUUUUUUUKE” chant onto the man of the moment. Ugh ugh ugh. Go home!
Wells settled down after that, but the damage was done to the scoreboard and to Keegan Akin’s ERA. He pitched a scoreless seventh inning before giving way to Shawn Armstrong, who also had a clean eighth.
If you’re surprised about Armstrong’s clean inning, don’t worry. He fell apart in the ninth, but got saved by a very nice catch from defensive replacement Ryan McKenna. Gary Sánchez hit a fly ball that looked like it would be a three-run homer (a cheap one, but still). McKenna timed his jump perfect and robbed Sanchez of what would have been a dinger in 12 ballparks, per the MASN broadcast. Here, check it out for yourself:
Ryan McKenna takes a home run away from Gary Sanchez! pic.twitter.com/R8Y0HGXOy7— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 16, 2021
As for the Orioles’ offense, it was also bad. Yankee villain Domingo Germán made the start and kept the Orioles in check for six innings.
The Orioles did have a good chance against him in the third inning, but blew it. After retiring the first six batters he faced, Germán gave up a single to Rio Ruiz to start the third. A one-out double from Chance Sisco and a walk by Cedric Mullins loaded the bases, but Austin Hays grounded into a very close double play to end the inning.
The Orioles challenged, but it was one of those plays that was so close it wouldn’t have been overturned no matter what the initial call had been. That’s just how it works out for the Orioles.
The Orioles made some noise in the sixth inning as well, getting two on with no outs. Again it was Sisco, who walked, and Mullins, who singled. A run did come into score on a groundout by Trey Mancini, but that was all they’d get.
Germán came out after the sixth but the Orioles had little success against the Yankees bullpen. They couldn’t get a single hit against Lucas Luetge and Justin Wilson in the seventh and eight innings.
The O’s did the too-little-too-late thing in the ninth inning against Luis Cessa. Back-to-back singles from Hays and Ryan Mountcastle set up a one-out RBI single from Ramón Urías to bring the Orioles to within six. But a game-ending double play from Pedro Severino dashed the comeback dream before it could even begin.
The final game of the series is tomorrow with the Orioles sending TBD to the mound to try and avoid the sweep. Best of luck, guys.