Last year, the Yankees went 12-7 against the Orioles. Going 12-7 against a team isn’t bad, but it also isn’t good if that team is the 2018 Orioles.
After Thursday’s Opening Day win, you would have hoped that Yankees moved beyond the needless losses to a really bad Baltimore team. It’s only the second game against them, so maybe everything will be fine. However, this loss seemed very 2018-ish.
The Yankees scored first and had several other chances early. Meanwhile, James Paxton mostly cruised through the Orioles’ lineup in his Yankees’ debut. It seemed only a matter of time before the Yankees added to their lead and put away the game.
Instead, everything flipped after a bad sixth inning. The Yankees’ offense eventually woke back up, but by then it was too little too late. Baltimore hung on to a 5-3 win, dropping the Yankees to 1-1 on the season.
After missing out on a few chances to cash in through the first three innings, the Yankees finally got on board in the fourth. Orioles pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis retired the first two hitters of the inning, with Gary Sanchez just missing a home run on two different pitches. Gleyber Torres then kept the inning alive with a single, and Troy Tulowitzki did as well by drawing a walk. That brought fellow Yankees first-timer DJ LeMahieu to the plate. LeMahieu grounded one sharply up the middle. It was knocked down by Baltimore shortstop Richie Martin, but he couldn’t field it cleanly, allowing Torres to score.
Failing to score in the first couple innings came back to haunt the Yankees in the sixth. Jesus Sucre led off the top of the sixth with a single, and Martin followed that with a pop up that managed to barely land fair in no-man’s land. Paxton then recorded one out, but Dwight Smith managed to add another soft single, scoring Sucre to tie the game. In the next at-bat, a double steal attempt went against the Yankees when Gary Sanchez’s throw got past Torres and into the outfield. That allowed another run and gave the Orioles the lead.
Paxton then got Trey Mancini out, but his day would be finished after that. He may have left the game down a run, but it’s hard to pin much of it on him. None of the singles in the inning were particularly well hit, and there was a costly error to boot. His final line read 5.2 innings, having allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and a walk. He also struck out five. Adam Ottavino came in for him and finished things off in the sixth.
After more runners were left on base, the Orioles tacked on an insurance run in the seventh. Rio Ruiz hit a one-out double off Chad Green, who then proceeded to get a second out. Green then fell behind in the next at-bat and allowed a two-out single to Sucre, scoring Ruiz.
A couple innings later, the Orioles added another two runs in the top of the ninth, and that proved to be big.
Troy Tulowitzki led off the ninth with his first home run for the Yankees, and that kicked off a rally attempt. LeMahieu followed that up with a double. After Brett Gardner couldn’t get a hit to drop in, Aaron Judge singled to bring the tying run to the plate. Two batters later, Luke Voit blooped a shallow single into a gap, scoring LeMahieu. Now the winning run was coming to the plate. Miguel Andujar, who had grounded into a double play to end one of the best early scoring opportunities, had a chance to atone for that. Instead, he struck out to end the game, dooming the Yankees to a very dumb loss.
It’s only the second game of the season, so it’s way too early to read into what any of this means. This still was a very annoying game.