What started as a night of hope after the Yankees debut of Jameson Taillon ended with what may go down as one of the most frustrating losses of the season. Taillon was mostly impressive in his first start since May 2019, allowing two runs on three hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in 4.2 innings. However, what happened after he exited the game is mostly what will be remembered from this game.
As the Yankees’ bullpen put up scoreless inning after scoreless inning, their offense just couldn’t do enough. They went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position while leaving 12 on base. It wasn’t as though they weren’t making good contract — 13 batted balls were over 100 mph — they just kept hitting them right at people or doing it at the wrong times.
After that, the bullpen could only hang on so long. A combination of defensive mistakes, pitching miscues, and the extra-innings rule eventually came back to cost the Yankees. They eventually fell 4-3 to the Orioles in an 11-inning mess of a game.
After several hard-hit balls in the first two innings led to no avail, the Yankees got on the board in the third. First, Brett Gardner and DJ LeMahieu started off the inning with a single each. Two batters later, Aaron Hicks came to the plate. Hicks has been in a funk to start the season, but this time, he came up with the goods, singling to plate Gardner.
The lead would not last long, however. Taillon was in top form for the first time through the order, going nine up, nine down. However in the fourth, both Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander got him for a solo shot each, putting Baltimore in front.
Taillon would exit the following inning, but not before striking out two more batters. In total, he recorded 11 swings-and-misses in a very nice little Yankees debut.
After that, several of the aforementioned RISP struggles occurred, inching the Yankees closer to a loss. They finally changed up the pattern somewhat in the eighth.
After the Orioles’ Shawn Armstrong got the first two outs, Gary Sánchez kept the inning alive with a single. With the team down to its last four outs, Mike Tauchman was sent in as a pinch-runner. That turned out to be a great move. Gio Urshela then slapped a hit into the gap. Tauchman was motoring the whole way and was aggressively sent home. He just managed to get in ahead and under the tag, tying the game:
In relief of Taillon, the Yankees bullpen couldn’t have been much better. Nick Nelson struck out two in his 1.1 innings. Darren O’Day threw a perfect frame, as did Jonathan Loaisiga. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the ninth, with the Orioles looking mostly silly against him. From Taillon’s final out in the fifth through the ninth, Yankees pitching retired 14 hitters in a row.
Chad Green brought that total up to 16 when he came in for the 10th, but thanks to the “runner on second in extra innings” rule, Baltimore’s runner advanced to third. Pedro Severino then grounded one to short. Gleyber Torres fielded it cleanly, but he spiked his throw to first, and it skipped past Bruce. The run scored, putting the Yankees back in a hole.
The Yankees had their own chance with a runner on second, but looked to be on the verge of squandering it, as the first two hitters in the 10th struck out. That left the game up to Kyle Higashioka, who delivered with an opposite-field single to score pinch-runner Tyler Wade:
In the 11th, the Orioles opted to bunt the runner over to start the inning with Green still in. Chance Sisco then got Baltimore’s first hit since the fifth inning, blooping a single into no-man’s land to give them the lead again. Luis Cessa came in and managed to keep the deficit to just one run.
The Yankees then also started off the inning by bunting the runner over to third, bringing LeMahieu to the plate. He flied one out to right, probably too shallow to send the runner. However, Urshela was sent and was easily thrown out at the plate, ending the game.
Whether you want to be mad at the offense, the defense, the rules, or, more accurately, all of the above, it’s fair. Baseball is great, but also very dumb.
The Yankees will be off tomorrow and will next play at Tropicana Field on Friday afternoon, as they face the Rays for a three-game set.