This game captured everything that’s going wrong with the Yankees of late. Masahiro Tanaka got clobbered, the offense couldn’t capitalize on big opportunities, and the bullpen wore down. That’s been the month of May in a nutshell. This time it cost the Yankees the series, as the Bombers fell to the Orioles by a score of 10 - 4. Yikes.
After two easy innings, Tanaka unraveled in the third. A pair of one-out singles by J.J. Hardy and Seth Smith set up Adam Jones, who crushed a booming RBI double. Jones missed the first two games of the series with an ankle injury, so naturally he steps right in and has an immediate impact. That put the Orioles up 1- 0.
The O’s weren’t done, though. Tanaka struck out Manny Machado, and looked like he was going to escape the inning, but Mark Trumbo had other plans. The Orioles designated hitter launched a line drive over the head of Aaron Judge, scoring two runs in the process. Should Judge have caught it? That’s debatable. I won’t blame him for missing a screeching liner, though. Tanaka left a fastball belt-high to Trumbo. The bad pitch was the culprit.
To make matters worse, Chris Davis followed with a RBI single of his own. Tanaka managed to induce a Trey Mancini fly ball to end the inning, but the damage was done. The Orioles walked away from the third with a 4 - 0 lead.
The next inning didn’t fare much better for the Yankees right-hander. After quickly retiring Jonathan Schoop and Caleb Joseph, Tanaka allowed a double to Hardy and walked Smith. That brought up Jones with two outs, and he sent a hanging sinker straight into the center field seats. That made it 7 - 1, Orioles, and turned a poor start into a disaster for Tanaka.
He finished the night having allowed seven runs on nine hits over 5.2 innings. He struck out four and walked two. This brought Tanaka’s season ERA up to a ghastly 6.34. I’m not sure what else there is to say about the Yankees right-hander. He’s not just the worst pitcher in the rotation, but one of the worst in all of baseball. We’ve spent weeks trying explain his struggles, looking for clues to unlock the mystery behind his weak performance. Now something has to be done, because it’s not so early anymore.
On the other hand, wasted opportunities plagued the Yankees’ lineup. They managed to score three runs off Gausman, but twice left the bases loaded. They had the struggling right-hander on the ropes but couldn’t deliver the knockout blow.
The Yankees got on the board in the third inning with some unconventional run manufacturing. A one-out single off the bat of Judge got things started, and Chase Headley followed with a walk. That brought Ronald Torreyes to the plate, who banged into a what should have been a double play. Headley was forced out at second, but Schoop uncorked an errant throw to first, allowing Judge to score.
Two more runs came across in the fifth inning. With one out and Brett Gardner on, Aaron Hicks lined a double to right field. That scored the speedy Gardner, who went flying around the basepaths. Once the ball went into the corner there was no doubt that the run would come across. Matt Holliday then followed with a RBI single, cutting the deficit to four. That’s all the Yankees would do, however. Gausman escaped the inning by forcing Torreyes to ground into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded.
Torreyes redeemed himself in the eighth inning. He lead off against Darren O’Day and beat out an infield single, moving to second on an Austin Romine single. A Rob Refsnyder fielder’s choice moved Torreyes to third base, and he found his way home on a Gardner RBI ground out. That made the score 9 - 4, and while it wasn’t enough to claw back into the game, it was nice to see him finish on a strong note.
As for the leftovers, the Yankees bullpen continued to struggle. Tommy Layne retired the only batter he faced, but Giovanny Gallegos really struggled. He looked eminently hittable, and surrendered a loud, two-run home run to Davis. Jonathan Holder also allowed a run in the eighth inning, but there was some shaky infield defense to blame there. The bullpen really put this one out of reach. It also didn’t help that the Yankees left 10 runners on base. It was a frustrating night on both sides of the ball.
The Yankees head to Toronto tomorrow for a four-game series against the Blue Jays. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM, so mark your calendars. CC Sabathia and Marco Estrada will be the pitching matchup. Let’s hope that series goes a little better than this one.