That sucked. The Yankees and Orioles started playing just after seven on Friday night. Some five hours later, Pedro Alvarez smacked a flat Jonathon Holder offering into right center field for what turned out to be the game-winning grand slam. After 14 innings, the Orioles beat the Yankees yet again, 7-3
The game started off rocky enough, with Manny Machado taking CC Sabathia deep in just the second at-bat of the game. It was the first of Machado’s two dongs off CC, and the O’s shortstop ended up reaching base SIX times tonight in total. Mercy.
But there would be no mercy. Each time the Orioles went ahead, the Yankees came back to tie it. A Giancarlo Stanton bloop single in the bottom of the first brought the score to 1-1, and after Machado’s second dinger, Aaron Judge also had an RBI single to re-tie the game. Finally, down 3-2 in the eighth, Didi Gregorius showed up:
Sir, you've really done it. pic.twitter.com/ub2AiWQd8n— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 7, 2018
That was about it for good and happy things. Abandon all optimism, because the rest of this recap is going to get dark.
CC Sabathia looked okay, aside from three home runs. They were all solo shots, and off the bats of established power threats (Chris Davis had the third), so I was willing to write ‘em off. CC ended up leaving after four innings, however, with right hip soreness. He’ll undergo an MRI after the game and the Yankee community will wait with bated breath. With all the injuries so far in 2018, an extended DL trip for a starter is not what the team needs.
The ouch parade only starts there, however. Brandon Drury was replaced by Ronald Torreyes in the sixth inning, and Tyler Wade was pulled in the ninth. It sounds like Drury was suffering from a migraine, and Wade has apparently been dealing with the flu since the Toronto series. Hopefully they’ll be back on their feet in no time. Aaron Boone and the training staff also came out to check on a potentially-injured Aroldis Chapman in the ninth, but the Yankee closer seemed to shrug off the attention.
After CC left the game, it was up to a shaky-of-late Yankee bullpen, and they delivered. Just about everyone in the ‘pen was in on the action, throwing nine shutout innings and striking out 13 Orioles. Most of the relievers called upon did struggle somewhat, with only David Robertson and Chasen Shreve having completely clean innings, but the bend-but-don’t-break attitude was enough to outlast Baltimore for a time. It was only after Holder was called upon for a second inning of work, with nobody left in the bullpen, that the Yankee relief corps finally broke.
Offensively, I really do want to take a moment and talk about contact vs. strikeouts. Many people, including those within Yankee circles, use the Yankees’ propensity to strike out as a punchline. They’re convinced that if the Yankees just “shortened up” and “took what the pitcher was giving them,” the team would enter a new era of offensive capability. Well, the Yankees “shortened up” against Kevin Gausman, only striking out three times and making oodles of contact. The result? Nine groundouts, including a double play and another confusing series that should have been a double play.
Perhaps the worst news came in the 14th, even worse than the grand slam. Gary Sanchez, after catching more than 250 pitches tonight, seemed to come up a bit lame from his squat in the middle of an Adam Jones at-bat. He left the game clutching his right calf. Hopefully, it’s just a cramp from, again, catching more than 250 pitches tonight. He was certain to get this afternoon’s game off, and if we’re lucky that’s all he’ll need. A loss of an All-World catcher would be the cherry on this terrible, terrible sundae.
Despair must be kept private and brief, though. The Yankees and Orioles will do this all over again in about 12 hours, with game three of this series going at 1:05pm. Sonny Gray is tabbed for the start and will be under immense pressure to throw as close to a complete game as possible. It’s certain the Yankees will make some roster moves to augment a depleted bullpen and bench, so keep your eyes on PSA for all the updates you’ll need.