Some days you win, some days you lose, and some days, you actually get outpitched by the Baltimore Orioles. That’s what happened on Saturday night, as the Yankees fell to the O’s in Sarasota, 2-1. It’s annoying when the stars align like that, but when it’s in spring training and with a lineup that didn’t feature the likes of Aaron Judge and Luke Voit, it’s easy to shrug off.
Michael King got the start and was sharper than he’s been all spring. He held the Orioles to one run on just two hits and a walk, striking out six O’s along the way and doubling his Grapefruit League K total. Baltimore’s lone run against him came in his last frame, when he allowed a leadoff walk to Chance Sisco and a Pat Valaika double before Sisco scored on a roller to shortstop by Ramón Urías. Credit to King for limiting the damage by inducing another grounder from Cedric Mullins and fanning slugger Trey Mancini.
King of the hill. @7Kinger14 pic.twitter.com/zoYSM2VxFy— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 20, 2021
King has stated that his goal is to give the Yankees at least 100 meaningful innings, regardless of whether it’s as a starter or in a relief role. Other pitchers are ahead of him on the depth chart and he probably won’t make the Opening Day roster, but the odds are good that he’ll be needed at some point.
Opposing King was former Mets ace Matt Harvey, who’s trying to make the O’s after a couple lost seasons in Anaheim and Kansas City. Like King, he hasn’t had the best spring, but put forth his best effort on Saturday. Aside from a Gleyber Torres walk, the only baserunner Harvey allowed came on a solo homer by Gio Urshela in the second, which gave the Yankees a fleeting 1-0 lead.
Swing of beauty, @Urshela10. pic.twitter.com/evycVBF5qx— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 20, 2021
The offense on both sides mirrored the quiet nature of this untelevised game. The Orioles jumped in front, 2-1, when Jonathan Loáisiga gave up a solo shot to Valaika in the fifth. It was the first run that the 26-year-old right-hander has allowed all spring across 8.1 innings of work. After Loáisiga’s two frames, Luis Cessa followed with two of his own, striking out three batters in a scoreless effort.
Meanwhile, the anonymous duo of Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells kept the New York offense at bay for four shutout innings in relief of Harvey, holding the Yankees to singles from DJ LeMahieu and Derek Dietrich and nothing else. Dillon Tate plunked Gary Sánchez to lead off the ninth, but struck out the side to end it. Jay Bruce and Mike Tauchman were among many Yankees to go hitless on the night, failing to add much intrigue to their roster spot competition (though Bruce made a nice catch in left field).
As a final note, Clint Frazier was originally supposed to play, but Kristie Ackert of the Daily News reported that he was scratched to give him an extra day of rest since he’s “dealing with something minor.” Hopefully, it remains minor. If you’re looking for any reassurance, Clint himself said not to worry!
i'm fine— Clint Frazier (@clintfrazier) March 21, 2021
The Yankees will finally return to video feeds tomorrow afternoon, as Gerrit Cole takes on the Blue Jays in Dunedin at 1:07 pm EST. The game won’t be on YES, but it will be available on MLB Network and MLB.tv.