The Yankees and Orioles faced off in the last game of their series at Camden Yards in a game that New York needed to win. Slipping further and further away from the division, the Yankees needed to beat Baltimore tonight and hopefully beat up on a few bad teams in the coming days, unfortunately it didn't work out that easily, despite Herculean efforts from Michael Pineda and Dellin Betances.
The Yankees broke through in the third inning on a Stephen Drew double when Delmon Young could not make a diving catch in left field. They finally ended their RISP slump at 0-24 when Francisco Cervelli came up and hit a breaking ball on the outer half over the left-center field wall to give New York a 2–0 lead. It was starting to look like a good day for the Yankee offense, but that was really it. We should all be used to this by now.
Pineda returned to the mound for the first time since April and it was like he never left. His fastball was in the low-mid 90s, like he was hitting before his DL stint. He sent down 12 straight to start off the game, striking out four and working efficiently though the first four innings. Then in the fifth, Pineda gave up his first hit, a double to Nelson Cruz, and lost his command as he hit 50 pitches. He got Delmon Young to ground out, but then ran into a bit of bad luck when Steve Pearce flared a bloop single into left-center to cause some trouble. He gave up a fly ball that allowed a run to score and cut the Yankees' lead in half, but Pineda finally managed to get through the fifth with the lead intact thanks to a great diving grab made by Chase Headley. Pineda ended his night allowing one run on two hits in five innings. I think we'll all take that from him after so much time away.
Dellin Betances pitched 2 1/3 innings tonight, coming in for the sixth for the first time since mid-June. He gave up a hit on the first pitch he threw, but came back against the next three hitters to strikeout Nick Markakis, Chris Davis, and Adam Jones. Betances breezed through his second inning of work, collecting another strikeout on only eight pitches. However, his third inning is where things finally fell apart. After getting one out in the eighth, he surrendered a home run to apparent Yankee-killer Jonathan Schoop to tie the game and boot him from the game.
Shawn Kelley entered and allowed a hit and a walk to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Jones then came up and launched a three-run home run to put the O's up 5–3 and push the game out of reach. The Yankees challenged in the ninth inning when Mark Teixeira walked and Carlos Beltran hit a double down the left-field line. Headley brought in a run on an infield single, but with two outs, Drew grounded out to end the game.
Overall, the Yankees collected only six hits with Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira, and Chase Headley adding to the tally throughout the game. This wasn't really on the pitching. Pineda and Betances were outstanding (sure, Kelley not so much), but you can't win games against playoff-caliber teams by scoring only three runs.
It's becoming painfully clear that, despite all the upgrades Brian Cashman was able to make, this just isn't a playoff team. Maybe the pitching is, but the offense, for whatever reason, hasn't clicked all year. The Yankees needed this game and they ended up barely putting in enough effort to keep the game interesting. The next week might be the end of the line depending on how it goes for them.