Another opportunity for the Yankees to gain ground in the Wild Card race fell by the wayside on Sunday Night Baseball, falling 9-3 to drop the rubber match of a tough three-game series to the first-place Orioles. Luis Severino’s nightmare season hit a new low with a career-worst nine earned runs, and the team dropped to 55-50, remaining 3.5 games behind Toronto in the Wild Card chase.
The Yankees simply never had much of a chance, with or without Aaron Judge in the lineup. Dean Kremer came out dealing with a 1-2-3 first inning, striking out Jake Bauers and Giancarlo Stanton. By the time Anthony Rizzo got a chance to hit in the four spot, they were already in a 7-0 hole thanks to Severino’s catastrophic first.
Adley Rutschman swings at the first pitch only 10.6 percent of the time, but he got aggressive in his second appearance at the leadoff spot, taking a first-pitch fastball from Severino into right field for a single to start Baltimore’s night on offense. Severino never established any command inside the strike zone, and he hung a cutter to Gunnar Henderson that produced the same result three pitches later. Then, Anthony Santander continued to burn the Yankees, drawing blood with an RBI double before Severino had even reached 10 pitches.
Unfortunately, it didn’t get any better from there. It got a lot worse, actually. Severino responded by throwing a fastball right down the middle to former Royals castoff Ryan O’Hearn that he pulled down the line for a two-run double. He then couldn’t find the plate with any of his pitches against Austin Hays, who he walked before throwing a get-me-over first-pitch fastball up and over the plate to Adam Frazier.
Like the rest of the Orioles lineup, Frazier responded aggressively:
That’s six runs on the board before an out was finally recorded via Ramon Urías strikeout. But they still managed to manufacture an additional run against Severino when Jordan Westburg reached on an infield single, stole second base, and finally scored when Adley Rutschman singled again in his second trip to the plate in the inning.
The Yankees simply couldn’t afford to burn their bullpen with a packed and intimidating schedule over the next two weeks, so Severino stayed in to soak up a few more innings — and absorb more damage. That being the case, it just never felt like the Yankees were in this game, even when they managed to chip away and tack a couple of early-ish runs on Kremer. They left the bases loaded in the top of the second inning, but Jake Bauers got it done in his second at-bat, taking Kremer 390 feet to deep left-center field, not at all an easy feat for a left-hander.
Two innings later, Bauers came up again with two on and two out, and once again, he delivered, yanking a double into right field to score Harrison Bader and give the Yankees one more. Unfortunately, Severino, who had settled down somewhat for a scoreless second and third inning, gave them right back in the fourth.
Sevy’s control abandoned him once more, walking Rutschman to lead off the inning before throwing yet another fat first-pitch fastball to Henderson, who scorched a 110-mph double to the right field gap to score him. After a groundout and an O’Hearn single, the score was 9-2, and Severino’s night was done with a line of 3.1 innings, 10 hits, and again, a career-worst nine earned runs. Despite good work in Severino’s last two starts, he’s gone back to getting smoked.
Luis Severino’s 5th start allowing 6+ runs, the most in the majors since June 1— James Smyth (@JamesSmyth621) July 30, 2023
Ron Marinaccio took the ball from Severino and, with the pressure off, flashed his A-game for the first time in a while, spinning 2.2 perfect innings with four outs via strikeouts. It was a welcome return to form after suffering a 9.72 ERA in July to this point.
The Yankees scratched across a run off of Kremer for the third consecutive innings, when singles from Stanton and Isiah Kiner-Falefa were supported by a sacrifice fly courtesy of Bader. That was all of the fight that the Yankees offense had in them, though. Kremer departed the game after that fifth inning, and the top and middle of the order was unable to get anything going against two innings of Shintaro Fujinami, who did wonderful justice to the Carlos Marmol school of having no clue what area code the ball is heading to but being so electric that it doesn’t matter.
Albert Abreu took on the seventh inning for the Yankees and like Marinaccio, handled it with aplomb, setting Baltimore down in order to keep thins moving along. Danny Coloumbe found work in the Yankees half of the eighth inning, and Abreu worked out of a bases loaded jam in his half to keep his two-inning appearance scoreless. Félix Bautista was interviewed in the bullpen but otherwise got the night off, as Brandon Hyde went with Yennier Cano to handle the ninth with a six-run cushion. By that time, the hitters looked ready to be on the flight (or train) back home, striking out in order and closing the books until tomorrow evening.
They’ll be back in the Bronx hosting a Rays team fighting tooth-and-nail to keep pace with the O’s, who maintained a 1.5-game lead in the East. Domingo Germán is expected to get the ball as the home side looks for a bounce-back, while the Rays counter with ace Tyler Glasnow, who’s coming off a strong seven inning outing against the Marlins. The Yankees will hope for better fortunes against an equally tough opponent. First pitch is at 7:05pm ET.