Jobu reviews another series loss for the Yankees. This one was against the hated Baltimore Orioles.
After they lost the series to the Red Sox, I really wanted to see the Yankees come out and trounce the Orioles for a few games. I actually attended game one of this series (more on my experience later), and was disappointed by one of those annoying RISP fail, solo home run filled losses. The second game was even worse, as the Yankees lost despite taking a five-run lead in the first inning. They finally escaped with a win in the third game, but the damage was done. At least they get to host the Mariners next, right?
Game 1: Orioles 5, Yankees 4
As I mentioned in the intro, I went to this game. In fact, Big League Clu and I had some pretty nice seats to this game (thanks Clu). The one caveat to the third row seats above the right field wall was the interesting company we had for the first seven innings of the game. We sat tensely for that time directly behind none other than alleged (for my own safety I repeat, alleged) former crime family boss John Gotti, Jr. And me without my Growing Up Gotti T-shirt!! (By the way, I’m forever billing this as “the game I went to with John Gotti, Jr. I hope everyone understands) Anyway, this was a bit of an annoying game, as the Yankees hit three home runs but lost 5-4. Mr. Gotti couldn’t even finish the game. That’s how bad it was! The Yankees sent Freddy García to the hill against a rookie named Miguel González, so you got the feeling they wouldn’t do much (they’d never faced González before).
Tiring of Freddy
I know Freddy is just filling in for Andy Pettitte, and he’s not pitching particularly badly, but I’m kind of tired of watching him go out and pitch “OK.” It’s hard to complain about three runs from essentially the fifth starter, but I can’t help but feel someone else could be doing the same job. Anyway, Freddy was tagged for a solo home run by Wilson Betemit early on, a couple of runs in the fifth and his final line looked like this: 6 Ip, 9 H, 3 R, 0 BBs, 2 Ks, 94 pitches and his fifth loss of the year (4-5).
The bullpen really failed in this game. Boone Logan came in and got the first two men he faced (both righties), but couldn’t retire either of the lefties he faced. This led to David Phelps coming in with one run in and a man on second, and he allowed a single to the first batter he faced that scored the run. Phelps otherwise continued his great pitching, with 1.2 scoreless innings. He gave way to Clay Rapada in the ninth, who faced two lefties and allowed singles to both before Chad Qualls (who was traded to the Pirates for Casey McGehee on deadline day) finally got out of the inning.
There were some very exciting moments for the Yankees in this game. They took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Eric Chavez, but were down 3-1 after a crappy inning by Freddy in the fifth. Raúl “So Cool” Ibañez hit a solo bomb in the bottom of the fifth, but it wasn’t until after the second out in the bottom of the seventh that things got really exciting for the Yankees.
By this time, they were down 5-2 and facing another useless 123 inning against González. Chavez stepped up and changed that with one monstrous swing of the bat. He hit a ball about as far as I’ve ever seen in a game in person, depositing one over our heads and into the luxury boxes above the right-field wall. The next batter was Ichiro, and he got into the act as well, cranking his first home run as a Yankee, and the 100th of his historic career (if you look really closely, you can see me, Clu and Gotti Jr… but I’ll let you guys find that yourselves). Unfortunately, that would be all the scoring for the Yankees. Down one run in the bottom of the ninth, Nick Swisher led off with a double, but the RISP fail Yankees blew it again, and lost 5-4.
Notable Offense: HR – Ibañez (14), Chavez (9), Ichiro (5), RBI – Chavez 2 (22), Ibañez (45), Ichiro (29), 2 hits for Jeter, Ibañez and Chavez
Game 2: Orioles 11, Yankees 5
It’s not very often that you score five runs in the bottom of the first and not only lose, but lose to the very same pitcher you scored those five runs off of. The Yankees really had to put together a terrible game to pull that off, and they did it. With Iván Nova on the mound facing Chris Tillman, we thought we might get an easy win in game two, but it was not to be.
Nova came out firing on all cylinders, using only six pitches to get through the top of the first. It not only fell apart in the second, it exploded and disintegrated too. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters started the inning with consecutive singles, but Iván seemed to settle down, striking out the next two batters. With two strikes, he hung a slider to Mark Reynolds, who smacked it down the right field line for an RBI double. Omar Quintanilla, who has apparently become the best hitter ever since he was released by the Mets, singled in Wieters and Reynolds, and the O’s now only trailed 5-3. But Nova wasn’t done yet! He gave up a single to Nick Markakis and walked J.J. Hardy to load the bases for Chris Davis. Davis got yet another patented hanging breaking ball and crushed it out to left-center for a grand slam. Just like that, it was 7-5 Orioles. Nova was brutal, and he deserved the following final line: 5 Ip (I might have pulled him after the seven run second), 10 H, 9 R, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 93 pitches and his fifth loss of the season (10-5)
The bullpen, which has been pretty shaky of late as a whole, patched together the next few innings, although Rapada did allow a two-run home run to Markakis, the one guy in the lineup he’s supposed to get out. Nice game, everyone.
That’s Enough, Right?
The Yankees couldn’t have gotten off to a better start in the bottom of the first inning. Derek Jeter led things off with a double and scored on a single by Curtis Granderson, who scored on the two-run home run by Robinson Canó. An Ibañez fielder’s choice groundout was sandwiched between singles by Swisher and Chavez, putting men on first and third. Ichiro then hit a grounder back to the mound, but a throwing error by Tillman let Ibañez score and everyone to be safe. Russell Martin then singled to score Chavez, but he can’t do too many good things before screwing something up, so he got caught rounding first base too far and was tagged out. Ramiro Peña, who got a start for some reason, grounded out to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Unfortunately, the Yankees didn’t feel the need to add any more runs off of Tillman over the next four innings, or off of anyone else in the bullpen either. It’s nice to score five in the first, but it’s kind of inexcusable to get shut out the rest of the game, especially after the opposing teams comes back on you. Show some fight, Yankees!
Notable Offense: HR – Canó (23), RBI – Granderson (59), Canó 2 (58), Ichiro (30), Martin (30), 3 hits for Jeter
Game 3: Yankees 12, Orioles 3
The getaway day games are always fun, although I had to somehow figure out how to watch this game and the Uruguay/Great Britain men’s Olympic soccer game at the same time. Don’t worry fans, I used my own tips to pull the whole thing off. As far as the game goes, the Yankees had Phil Hughes on the mound facing Yankees batting practice pitcher Zach Britton. I mean seriously, how many times are they gonna pound this guy? They got after him again in this game too, Hughes did not blow a giant lead and the Yankees won big in game three.
Good Enough Phildo
When you get staked to a big lead, you’re supposed to just go out there, throw strikes and let the batters get themselves out. Hughes tried to do that, which led to a lot of base hits, but no real damage. The one run he gave up came on an RBI groundout by Endy Chavez in the top of the second inning. The rest of the time, Hughes bent but didn’t break, and his final line looked like this: 6 Ip, 9 H, 1 R, 2 BBs 2 Ks, 107 pitches and his eleventh win of the season (11-8). He now leads the team in wins, and is the first to finally get past the ten win hump. Good on you, Phildo!
This game was a pretty big deal, because it marked the return of Joba Chamberlain to the Yankees bullpen. The big righty had missed fourteen months after Tommy John surgery (and that whole broken ankle thing), and he came back to pitch 1.2 innings in this game. Although his velocity wasn’t quite what it was reported to be during his rehab stint (92 and 93 and not 98 and 100), and he gave up two runs on four hits, it really is great to have him back.
As I mentioned earlier, the Yankees tend to take Zach Britton to the woodshed whenever they face him, and there was no difference in this game. After Jeter grounded out to start the inning, Granderson hammered a first-pitch fastball over the fence in right for a solo home run (don’t you dare call him a home run hitter though). Andruw Jones later added a sac fly to make it 2-0. Two more runs scored in the bottom of the second on RBI singles by Jeter and Swisher, but the brunt of the runs came home in the bottom of the third.
Martin and McGehee walked to start the inning before Britton got two quick outs. Like Nova the night before, everything fell apart for Britton after that. Nix hit a ground rule double to the gap in left-center, which chased Britton and left men on second and third for Jeter. Kevin Gregg came in and allowed a single to Jeter (2 RBI), a single to Granderson, a walk to Swisher and a grand slam on a hanging breaking ball to Canó. It’s nice to see Canó breaking out of his slump with homers in consecutive games. The last run came on a sac fly by McGehee in the bottom of the eighth, but the game was well over by then.
Notable Offense: HR – Granderson (29), Canó (24), RBI – Granderson (60), Jones (28), Jeter 3 (32), Swisher (55), Nix (13), Canó 4 (62), McGehee (1), 3 hits for Jeter (3,225 for his career now) and Nix, 2 hits for Granderson, Swisher and Canó
Featured image courtesy of: Seth Wenig/AP
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