In retrospect, this game was a trap for the Yankees. All of the warning signs were there ahead of time. The Orioles, who were just swept by the Astros, had to win at some point. Andrew Cashner couldn’t keep the ball in the park against the Twins, so naturally he held the Yankees to one run. The warning signs were all over the place, but we didn’t see them.
On the bright side, Masahiro Tanaka pitched brilliantly. He won’t get enough credit for his strong outing, but he should. That’s worth looking on the bright side, because an effective Tanaka is so much more valuable than this one, frustrating game. Plus, Aaron Judge seems to have his power stroke down. Watch out everyone.
The rest of the team? Not so great! Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez went quietly all night, while the bullpen continued to meltdown. This time Chad Green played the culprit. Just shake it off, I guess. There’s another game tomorrow. It will be Kevin Gausman against CC Sabathia at 7:05 PM.
For a quick rundown of tonight’s game, here’s the box score. For my thoughts on the entire matchup as it unfolded, check out the live blog below.
Dellin Betances makes his first appearance since Saturday. He made quick work of Rasmus, but lost Santander on a walk. That brings Sisco up. who struck out on a breaking ball in the dirt. With two strikes on Mancini, Santander took off for second, making it safely. It didn’t matter as Betances struck out the left fielder anyway. The Yankees better get to scoring here, or this one’s going in the loss column.
Brad Brach takes over for the Orioles as Austin looks to get a rally going. He doen’t do a great job, as he popped up into foul territory. Wade does his part, working a walk, before Brandon Drury pinch-hits for Andujar. The substitution didn’t matter, however, as Drury struck out. The left it all on Gardner, you guessed it, struck out to end the game. That’s all she wrote folks. The Yankees dropped this one 5 - 2.
Warren comes in to start the eighth, and after retiring the first two batters, allowed a long single to Davis. He rebounded to strike Beckham out, and now the top of the Yankees’ order is due up.
Gardner is doing what he does best, grinding out an at-bat. He took a called strike that was well below his knees. Then he took a close pitch up-and-in, and claimed it brushed him on the hand. Boone challenged, but the replay made it look like he didn’t get hit. He worked a walk anyway. That was an eventful plate appearance.
Judge jumps on the first pitch and shoots a laser down to left field, but it goes foul. Instead he pops out to second base. That brings Stanton up, who quickly strikes out. This one’s on Sir Didi. He takes first after being hit by a pitch.
Here’s Sanchez, who can tie this game with one swing of the bat. He got hit to load the bases! Walker has a chance to do something big here. He taps it back to O’Day and the Yankees leave the bases loaded.
Tanaka’s back out for the seventh, and he fires a strike to Schoop. The Orioles second baseman is battling, fouling off pitch after pitch. He wins it by blooping a splitter in to center field. That brings Jones up, who gives the Orioles the lead with a two-run homer. Stanton made a great effort, but he just missed it. That hurts. It was a cement-mixer slider that hung at the center of the plate.
The Yankees somewhat recovered, as Davis was retired on a groundball fielded by Andujar. Beckham just singled, though, and Boone is making a pitching change. Green is coming in, and Tanaka’s night is done. He pitched a great game — 6.1 innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts — and deserves better. It feels like the air was just let out of Yankee Stadium though.
Green gets things started by allowing a single to Rasmus, as Beckham goes from first to third. This has the potential to be a big inning for the Birds. Yes it does, because Santander doubled to make it 3 - 1, O’s. Green bounced back to strike out Sisco, but Mancini singled to make it a 5 - 1 game. The wheels just came off. Adam Warren is warming, but it’s on Green to navigate through Machado. He escaped the inning, but not before the damage was done. Yuck.
At least Cashner’s out of the game. Mychal Givens takes over and he faces Gregorius. AND SIR DIDI WITH THE LEADOFF DOUBLE. It looked gone off the bat, but just missed landing in the short porch. Sanchez couldn’t capitalize; he popped up into foul territory on the first base side, one away. Walker, however, does the job with a RBI single! It’s 5 - 2.
Austin steps to the plate and hits a sky-high popup. It’s up to Wade to keep things going. He just got out of the way of a pitch zeroing in on his legs, but he’s good to go. He ends up working a walk, and Buck Showalter is going to the bullpen. Enter Darren O’Day, sporting a funky mustache, who draws Andujar.
The rookie third baseman has a chance to make an impact here. He falls behind quickly 0 - 2 and pops up, stranding two baserunners. Bah!
Sisco strikes out to start the sixth, and I dare you to say that five times fast. Back to the top of the O’s lineup and Mancini hits a deep fly ball to left field. Judge is there for it, and Tanaka has two away. Machado works a full count and pops up in foul territory on the first base side. Walker is chasing it down and is running out of room. He reaches into the dugout and MAKES THE PLAY! He also wears glasses, go figure. Now give Tanaka some run support, you guys!
I’m starting to think the Orioles replaced Cashner with a lookalike before the game. He struck out Andujar and got Gardner to fly out to right field. Oh no, that’s definitely Cashner. Judge just clobbered his second homer of the season to give the Yankees a 1 - 0 lead! It also made history.
58th HR for Judge in his 189th game. It's the fastest anyone has reached that mark in MLB history.— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) April 6, 2018
Thank you, large adult son.
That’s all the Yankees get, as Stanton hit another groundball for an out. I’ll take the lead, though.
Tanaka struck Beckham out looking for the second time. That’s his sixth on the night. Groundouts by Rasmus and Santander means Tanaka is through five on 61 pitches.
As I’m typing this, the Yankees are being one-hit by Cashner. Maybe this will be the inning they get to the veteran right-hander. Could it be Walker? No, he flew out to center field. Maybe Austin? Nah, he struck out. Wade? Negative, he went down looking. “Cashner’s really dealing,” is not something I expected Michael Kay to say tonight.
Tanaka makes quick work of the heart of the Orioles’ lineup. He struck out Schoop and Jones while Davis grounded out. He’s at 48 pitches through four. More of this, please.
Stanton leads off the bottom of the inning with a groundball to short. Gregorius follows with his second walk of the game. Keep padding that on-base percentage, Sir Didi. Sanchez lifted a fly ball to right field that sounded pretty good off the bat, but didn’t even hit the warning track. It’s up to Walker now to make something happen.
And Walker doesn’t get a chance because Gregorius gets thrown out trying to steal second. Yikes. Not sure what he was going for there. Ah well, time to dig into the Easter candy stash while we wait for the fifth.
Anthony Santander greets Tanaka with a deep fly ball to left field. Stanton made a leaping catch to rob the Orioles right fielder of an extra-base hit. A Chance Sisco groundout has Tanaka rolling. And just as I typed that Mancini poked a base hit right up the middle. Sigh. The good news is that Machado flew out to Stanton to end the half. More amusing, however, is the dramatic shift the Bombers employ for him.
Tyler Wade gets his first at-bat of the evening. He legs out a double on a ball scorched to center field. He is so, so fast. Andujar, batting ninth, advances Wade to third with a ground ball to second base. Back to the top of the order, and Gardner goes down looking. It’s up to Judge to bring Wade home. He crushes a ball to deep right field — does it have enough — nope. Santander catches it on the warning track, and this game is scoreless through three.
Tanaka’s back out for his second inning of work. He quickly gets Davis to ground out to first base. Tanaka lucked out, because that pitch didn’t look so good. It was a cement mixer that Davis rolled over on. If Davis had his A-swing, that probably would have left the ballpark.
The right-hander then struck out Beckham and Rasmus for a 1 - 2 - 3 inning. Beckham didn’t like the called third strike and let the umpire know. Give Sanchez credit. He did a helluva job framing that splitter.
Sir Didi Gregorius, established cleanup hitter, leads off for the Yankees. He drew a four pitch walk, because nobody is ready for Didi. Sanchez follows and fouls off a few tough pitches. He plays a cat-and-mouse game with Cashner. The pace has come to a screeching halt. Sadly the Kraken lofts a fly ball to left field for the first out.
Neil Walker steps to the plate and works a walk of his own, but a double play ball off the bat of Tyler Austin ends the inning.
The sun’s out at Yankee Stadium on a chilly April evening. Tanaka is taking his warm up pitches. The Bombers take the field. It’s almost time for baseball!
First pitch from Tanaka is a strike to Trey Mancini. He lines a 1 - 1 pitch into center field for a single, bringing Manny Machado to the plate. That doesn’t phase Tanaka though. A splitter in the dirt fools Machado, who strikes out swinging. Jonathan Schoop pops up for the second out, but Adam Jones rips a line drive down the third base line that bounced off the glove of Miguel Andujar.
Mancini comes flying around the bases while Stanton tries to dig the ball out of the left field corner. He’s coming home, there’s a play at the plate, and the umpire calls Mancini safe. Baltimore appears to take a quick 1 - 0 lead, but Aaron Boone will challenge.
AND HE’S OUT! The run doesn’t score, and the Yankees are coming to bat against Cashner.
Brett Gardner gets things started by working a long at-bat against the right-hander. He struck out, but made Cashner throw seven pitches on him alone. Judge quickly falls in a 0 - 2 hole, but he has fought all the way back to a full count. Unfortunately the at-bat ends in a towering fly ball to the right fielder. It’s up to Stanton to keep the inning going, but he quickly grounds out to short.
Chris Davis, Tim Beckham, and Colby Rasmus are due up for Tanaka in the second inning.
Pregame notes and lineups
Fresh off a two-game sweep of the Rays, the Yankees are back in action tonight against another division rival. They’re hosting the Baltimore Orioles for the first of four games against the Birds. I, for one, am looking forward to the annual rite of disrespecting Flanny.
The Yankees currently sit in second place in the AL East with a 4 - 2 record. Buck Showalter’s squad, however, has stumbled right out of the gate. They’re 1 - 5 and have struggled across the board. In their last series, the O’s were swept by the Astros, outscored 19 - 9 over three games. It hasn’t been pretty.
Tonight’s game features a showdown between Tanaka and one of Baltimore’s free agent import pitchers, Cashner. Tanaka pitched well during the first turn through the rotation. He tossed six innings of one-run ball while striking out eight. Earlier this week, Matt Provenzano broke down Tanaka’s outing. In short, he was a pleasure to watch.
Cashner, on the other hand, wasn’t as successful. He allowed four runs against the Twins, three of which came via the home run ball. Cashner relies heavily on his sinker and fourseam fastball, but neither have the high-octane velocity with which he came up to the big leagues. Facing this Yankees’ squad probably won’t help with that home run total.
Today’s lineup sees Gregorius batting cleanup. That makes sense considering he owns a .250/.250/.563 batting line against the right-hander, including a home run. Austin gets another start at first base, while Andujar takes to the hot corner. Drury has the day off, but this lineup looks ready to do damage.
Yankees vs. Orioles tonight at 6:35pm on WPIX and WFAN pic.twitter.com/Wcd2qiDio2— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) April 5, 2018
How to watch
Location: Yankee Stadium
First pitch: 6:35 PM EST
TV channel: WPIX
Online streaming: MLB.tv (out-of-market only)
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280 (full listings)