Another night, another loss. The Yankees lost Sunday night’s series finale against the Orioles by the score of 4-2, getting swept in their most important series of the season (to date). They’ve now lost five straight, six of seven, eight of eleven, 13 of 18, and 21 of 33.
After allowing seven homers in his first 15 starts, Hiroki Kuroda has now allowed five dingers in his last two starts, including three solo shots on Sunday night. Manny Machado touched him up in the first, Chris Davis in the second, and Nate McLouth in the third. All three were mistake pitches that caught too much of the plate. Nothing really out of the ordinary here. Bad pitches lead to bad results against a good lineup in a hitter’s park.
Kuroda did settle down though, retiring 11 of 12 batters faced from the end of the third through the end of the sixth inning. Back-to-back hits to leadoff the seventh ended his night. The Orioles hung four runs on him in six innings, making him the fourth starter in this five-game losing streak to fail to give the Yankees a quality start. It’s one thing for the offense to stink, but the pitching hasn’t been so hot of late either. Bad, bad combination.
Hope For A Mistake
Whenever the Yankees score these days, I feel like it’s because the other team did something wrong and not because they did something right. Know what I mean? They scored their first run of the night when Brett Gardner drew a bases loaded walk immediately after David Adams walked on five pitches to load the bases. Gardner had a great at-bat and is the team’s second best hitter, but walking the nine-hitter on five pitches to load the bases with two outs was a gift from Chris Tillman. Nothing was particularly close.
That happened in the second inning. Nine of the next ten Yankees made outs — the one exception was a Travis Hafner bloop single, but he was erased at second trying to stretch it into a double — before Robinson Cano hit a homer to leadoff the sixth. Believe it or not, it was his first homer in 15 games and his first extra-base hit in 12 games. Six hits, four walks, one hit batman, two runs, blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda. The offense stinks.
I thought it was weird that Joe Girardi brought in his lone lefty reliever to face Ryan Flaherty (!) when it was obvious Buck Showalter would counter with a right-handed bat off the bench. It didn’t matter because Danny Valencia grounded back to Boone Logan, but I still thought it was the weird spot to use him. Of course the bad lefty hitter was going to lifted for a pinch-hitter.
Ichiro Suzuki made the final out of the inning three times, including when they had the bases loaded in the second and runners on first and second in the seventh. I really, really miss the early-season days when Cano was hitting second. That was awesome. Robbie was the only player on the team with two hits, but Adams was also on-base twice thanks to a pair of walks.
Chris Stewart took a hard Adam Jones backswing to the side of the head in the first inning, but apparently he’s fine. He hit the ground hard and it looked like he might have been hurt, but he stayed in the game after talking to the trainer. Stewart also took a pitch up high in the shoulder in the ninth. Rough day for him.
In case you were wondering — and I know you are! — this was the first time the Orioles swept the Yankees in a series of any length since April 2005.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees dropped to five back of the Red Sox in the loss column for first place and just two up on the Blue Jays for last place. They are only three back of a wildcard spot though, so not all hope is lost. Not yet, anyway.
The Yankees are off to Minnesota for a four-game set with the Twins. Left-handers Andy Pettitte and Scott Diamond will meet in Monday night’s series opener.