The 2016 season came to an end for the New York Yankees on Sunday afternoon. So too did Mark Teixeira’s career. Unfortunately they couldn’t pick up a win. They finish the season with an 84 - 78 record. It’s been a wild one.
From the outset of the game, the Orioles seemed determined to avoid a potential Wild Card three-way tie. Their offense struck first in the top half of the third inning. Jonathan Schoop greeted Luis Cessa with a lead-off with a ground rule double. He then advanced to third on a ground ball to Cessa off of the bat of Hyun-soo Kim. With one out and a runner on third, the O’s put together some situational hitting. J.J. Hardy lifted a fly ball to Brett Gardner allowing Schoop to score.
The rest of Baltimore’s offense came from Matt Wieters. He launched a pair of two-run home runs, one from each side of the plate. His first home run was against Cessa. That’s the 16th home run allowed by Cessa this season. He’s had a solid year as a swingman, but moving forward he needs to do a better job of keeping the ball in the park.
The second of Wieters’ home runs came in the top of the sixth. Tommy Layne relieved Cessa and inherited a two-out, one runner on situation. Wieters then promptly hit a two-run shot to left field. Both of his home runs were no doubters. He put on a mighty power display in the final game of the season. For Layne that was just his second home run allowed since joining the Yankees. He struck out Chris Davis to end the inning, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the Yankees to bring him back next year.
The Yankees offense was mostly quiet on Sunday afternoon. That’s been the theme of the 2016 season. Kevin Gausman, who owns a 0.80 ERA against the Bombers this season, lived up to his billing as a Yankee-killer. He allowed just one run, a Brian McCann home run, over 7.1 innings. This was an important game for the Orioles, so Buck Showalter turned to arguably his best starting pitcher. Gausman did his part to avoid a tie-breaking game.
Speaking of Showalter, he went for the kill with one out in the eight inning. Gary Sanchez had just singled, and Gausman was at 106 pitches, so Showalter summoned closer-extraordinaire Zach Britton. In a surprising turn of events, Britton actually allowed a run. Didi Gregorius hit an RBI single with two outs to make it 5 - 2, Orioles. Unfortunately that’s all the offense the Yankees could muster, as Britton worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to end the game.
Some leftovers: Gary Sanchez showed off his cannon of an arm in the seventh inning. He threw out both Schoop and Drew Stubbs as they tried to steal second base. It’s amazing that anybody tries to run on him, anymore. Blake Parker, Adam Warren, and Richard Bleier each chipped in scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Right now only Warren figures to be in the mix next season, but Parker and Bleier did great work filling in down the stretch.
Lastly, the Yankees honored Teixeira before the game with a nice little ceremony. He might have gone hitless, but Harlem RBI presented Teixeira with a card signed by over 100 students who participated in the program. The Yankees also gave their first baseman a framed jersey and a base signed by the entire time. He was joined on the field by his wife and three children. It had to be a special moment for the Teixeira family.
Since this was the final game of the season, stay tuned for the Pinstripe Alley player report cards. We’ll have hot stove coverage coming soon as well. Thanks for following the season with us, and we hope you had as much fun as we did!