It is rarely ideal for a team to have to dip past their set rotation for a start. It’s especially isn’t ideal for the Yankees at this moment in time with all their injuries, including a couple in bullpen (and no Luis Gil). Yet after playing the doubleheader on Sunday, they had to do it. However in this game, the Yankees got all they could’ve hoped for.
Making his first MLB start, JP Sears was very solid for the Yankees, throwing five scoreless innings. He struck out five, and overcame three hits and some occasionally bad defense behind him to keep Baltimore off the board.
On the offensive side of things, it wasn’t the Yankees’ brightest shining moment, but they ended up getting enough thanks to Sears and the bullpen, who combined to allow just two hits and a walk over the final four innings. They wrapped up the series with a victory, picking up a 2-0 win over the Orioles.
The Yankees may have earned the shutout, but early on, Baltimore had a couple chances to break through. In the first inning, they had two on and nobody out after a walk and a Gleyber Torres error. Sears bounced back with two strikeouts to get out of the inning. It was a similar story in the second as another two Orioles reached. While he got out of that jam too, Sears was already at 50 pitches and seemed like he might not be long for the game. Instead, the lefty buckled down and retired 9 of the last 11 batters he faced, giving the Yankees some much-needed innings.
While the Orioles had the better chances early, it ended up being the Yankees who eventually broke through. Aaron Judge led off the fourth inning, dropping a ground-rule double into the stands in left. Two batters later, Torres made up for his error and singled him over to third. Miguel Andújar, up all the way in the No. 5 spot in the lineup after all the recent injuries, came up next and singled home Judge. In the next at-bat, Andújar attempted to steal second, and on the ensuing throw, Adley Rutschman sent the ball into center field, allowing Torres to score.
Ron Marinaccio came out for the sixth, ending Sears’ day. In his second appearance since getting recalled, Marinaccio was also pretty impressive, going two innings and striking out three. It was just one game, but it was a good to see an unheralded name step up like that with all the injuries in the bullpen to the likes of Chad Green, Aroldis Chapman, and Jonathan Loáisiga.
Lucas Luetge came in for the eighth and got two outs either side of a walk to Trey Mancini. He ended up getting lifted after the second out, and Miguel Castro entered to strike out Austin Hays, ending the inning.
After the Yankees were again unable to add to their lead, Clay Holmes came on for the ninth. He allowed a single to Rutschman, and a blooper from Rougned Odor dropped in, making things a little bit iffy. However, Holmes bounced back and struck out Jorge Mateo to shut the door, recording his fifth save in five chances and 23rd consecutive scoreless inning.
Pitching may seem a bit worrisome at the moment, but at least in Wednesday night’s game against the Orioles, they did all you could hope for. Nestor Cortes will aim to keep the shutout streak alive tomorrow night at Tropicana Field. He’ll take on the Rays at 6:40pm ET.