Jobu reviews the Yankees series against the visiting Baltimore Orioles.
After playing eight games against three very tough teams, the Yankees were looking for a bit of a break against the Orioles, even though the birds came into the series in first place. I certainly didn’t take Baltimore seriously. After all, they’re always good in April, right? The way they played this series, they might be good for a little longer than that.
Game 1: Yankees 2, Orioles 1
The Yankees came into this game feeling pretty good after beating the Tigers two out of three. The Orioles came into this game in first place, and and having won six out of seven. As I mentioned in my Tigers series review, no one really believes in the Orioles. They have a history of hot starts that turn into very, very cold summers. Pardon me if I wasn’t trembling going into Monday night’s game. As it turned out, we had ourselves a pretty good game. There wasn’t much hitting, but there was plenty of pitching on both ends.
Hiroki Kuroda is far from a sure thing. Last night, he was hoping to put together consecutive quality starts for the first time this season, and coming off of a tough loss to the Texas Rangers. While he may have gotten a little lucky (several hard-hit balls somehow found their ways directly into Yankees gloves), Kuroda pitched great last night. The only run he gave up scored on a sacrifice fly that followed an awful play by Raúl Ibañez in right field (please hurry, Brett!) in the first inning.
He got lucky again in the seventh, when Nick Markakis tried to score on a wild pitch that didn’t get far enough away from Russell Martin. Martin and Kuroda made a great play to tag out Markakis and keep the game at 2-1.Overall, Kuroda went seven strong innings, allowing only that one run on four hits and a walk. He got his second win and lowered his ERA to 3.69. Even more importantly, the Yankees didn’t have to use the bullpen for five innings like they have been. It was a great outing and a big win for Hiroki.
You know someone’s making an impression when my dad says his name correctly while discussing how great he’s been playing. Robertson did just that last night, pitching a perfect eighth inning, using seventeen pitches to strike out the side. He now has eleven scoreless innings this season and 18 Ks. Pretty nasty. After Robertson left the game, Old Man Rivera came out and pitched a relatively easy ninth for his fifth save of the year. He’s all washed up though, don’t worry.
Who’s Better than Chavez?
The Yankees faced a pretty tough pitcher in this game. Jason Hammel came into this game one of the best pitching runs of his career. He was 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA, and pitched six very solid innings, allowing only two runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five Yankees. Guess what. Thanks to one terrible pitch to Eric Chavez in the bottom of the second inning, it wasn’t enough. Chavez hit a first-pitch fastball right down the middle of the plate into the Yankees bullpen for a two-run homer. It gave the Yankees the 2-1 lead, which is how the game ended.
Chavez has filled in pretty brilliantly ever since Gardner got hurt. The home run was his third of the season, and he’s now hitting .321 for the season. It’s nice to know that, if people get hurt, Chavy can step in and contribute (remember he almost tied game two against the Tigers in the bottom of the ninth too). Anyway, that was pretty much it for the Yankees offense, so it’s a good thing Kuroda was on the hill pitching well today.
Notable Offense: HR – Chavez (3), RBI – Chavez 2 (5), 2 hits for Teixeira
Game 2: Orioles 7, Yankees 1
The Yankees and Orioles kicked off May with game two of this series. Unlike game one, only one of the teams had good pitching in this game. Phil Hughes, pitching for his life in this game, probably kept himself in the rotation for another turn, and the Yankees refusal to call up another outfielder finally bit them in the butt. It was an ugly loss, and I don’t really have too much to say about it.
He’s Still Shitty
Pardon the language, but a better quote to describe how I feel about Hughes’ outing in game two does not exist. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of good from Hughes in this game, and it was definitely his best start of the year. That being said, it still took him 100 pitches to get through 5.2 innings, and he gave up two home runs (one to Chris Davis and one to J.J. Hardy) on two terrible pitches. I’m not sure when Phil is going to learn that, unless you throw 120 mph, you can’t throw major league hitters fastballs down the middle of the plate.
Hughes again collapsed late in the game, and was unable to log his first quality start of the season. His overall numbers were 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on four hits, walking one and striking out six. Compared to his other starts, this was a huge step forward for Phil. Compared to actually pitching well, it wasn’t so hot. Baby steps? Baby steps… although Andy Pettitte says he’s ready to help the big club.
The Bullpen Falters… Sort of
You knew the Yankees bullpen wasn’t going to be unhittable forever. They kind of weren’t in this one. Boone Logan relieved Hughes in the bottom of the sixth, and he finally allowed some runs. With Matt Wieters on base, Logan allowed a single to Davis, an RBI single to Wilson Betemit and two runs on a huge error in left field by Eduardo Núñez. Núñez dropped/let drop a fly ball by Nick Johnson, and everyone scored. Now, normally you’d be mad at the outfielder on this play. In this case, I am mad at Joe Girardi, because it’s hard to blame a guy who is basically learning a new position at the major league level. It was cute and funny in game one, when Núñez took funny routes to the balls he caught, but you had to know having him in left field was going to bite the Yankees in the butt at some point or another. That point was game two. Maybe now someone will call up an outfielder to help out while Gardner and Swisher are hurt? Probably not, but I can only hope.
The rest of the bullpen pitched fine. Wade, Soriano and rookie D.J. Mitchell combined for 3.1 innings, allowing one run on five hits, while walking one and striking out four. Mitchell made his major league debut in this game and struck out the first batter he faced, but was ultimately bailed out from a troublesome inning by a terrible base running play by Wieters. Worse debuts have been made though, so congratulations to the kid.
One Swing Offense
I say this because, for the second night in a row, all of the Yankees runs came on one swing. Unfortunately, there was no one on base for this swing, a Curtis Granderson bomb off the facing of the upper deck in the bottom of the first inning. You’re not gonna see too many balls hit further than that in this stadium, so congrats to Grandy on his 9th dinger of the year. The Yankees managed only six other hits all game, so they didn’t score any runs. Oddly enough, all seven of the Yankees hits came from the top three men in the order (3 for Jeter and 2 each for Granderson and A-Rod). The rest of the lineup went 0-22. That’s not how you win ballgames. It was especially disappointing because the Yankees usually beat Brian Matuz senseless, and so had the rest of the league in his other starts. Oh well.
Notable Offense: HR – Granderson (9), RBI – Granderson (17), 3 hits for Jeter, 2 hits for Granderson and Rodríguez
Game 3: Orioles 5, Yankees 0
I forced myself to watch game three for you readers. I didn’t want to be reporting on a game I had barely watched. Truth be told, I knew this one was over pretty early. The Yankees had so much fun scoring two runs in game one and one run in game two that they decided to score zero runs in game three. Some more terrible managing by Joe Girardi (and some residual effects from his ongoing terrible roster managing) helped the Orioles win this game, but you can’t win if you don’t score runs, so I guess it didn’t matter.
Uh… Is Girardi Asleep?
No seriously. He’s been asleep all week, right? That’s gotta be why the Yankees haven’t brought up another bench player, right? It certainly has to be why Iván Nova pitched the seventh inning… right?? Nova had about 100 pitches through six innings. He had allowed only two runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out three Orioles. It was a solid start, and it would have been a tough loss, but one of those losses you can build on. Instead, despite having 75 relievers in the bullpen (remember, no DL for Swisher, no bench player called up), he sent Nova out to pitch the seventh. When he allowed a leadoff home run to Markakis, Girardi left him in to face Adam Jones. When he hit Jones in the elbow, Girardi left him in to face Wieters! Finally, when Wieters hit Nova’s 114th pitch off the top of the right-center field fence for an RBI double, Girardi stopped hitting the snooze button, adjusted his Mickey Mouse pajamas and trotted out to the mound. Unbelievable. After the bullpen allowed Wieters to score, Nova’s line was 6.1 innings, nine hits, four walks, and five earned runs. Thanks Joe G. (Note: I guess Iván Nova does lose.)
If you thought the last two games were bad enough, you hadn’t seen anything until game three of this series. At least games one and two had home runs for me to link to. In this game, the Yankees made a solid starting pitcher, Jake Arrieta (he’s been pitching well this year, but come on!), look like Roy Halladay. The Yanks “offense” mustered only five singles and no walks the entire game. They didn’t even get a man into scoring position all day long! They were constantly swinging at bad pitches, or making first pitch outs. It was pathetic. On a side note, Chavez left the game during his at bat in the bottom of the fifth inning with concussion and whiplash like symptoms following a diving attempt in the field in the top of the fifth. Since the Giardi decided not to carry an extra bench player, Núñez had to come into the game, leaving Chris Stewart as the only player in case of any injury or emergency. I’m assuming Chavez will miss some time, so can we PLEASE call up a bench player now? Hello? Are you snoozing again, Joe? Good lord!
Notable Offense: 2 hits for A-Rod
Not much to say about this series. You never like to lose a series at home to the Baltimore Orioles, and I don’t care what their record is at the time. That’s a series you have to win. The Yankees got mostly solid pitching in the series, but were lucky to escape with the one win they got considering how putrid the offense was, and how terribly the games were managed by Joe Girardi. I’m not really sure what’s wrong with Joe this season, but he has made many questionable moves all season long. Also, the middle of the Yankees order has to get it going, and no… singles by A-Rod don’t count. Gear the eff up, gentlemen, and hit the stupid baseball.
Until next time, friends…
Featured image courtesy of: Kathy Willens/AP
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