Yankees lose a wacky 11-inning battle to the Orioles 7-4

DotF: Fowler hits walk-off home run to complete the cycle
Fan Confidence Poll: May 1st, 2017


Source: FanGraphs

Without any sort of exaggeration, I can say this was one of the weirdest baseball games I’ve ever watched. Anyways, this seemed like a sluggish Yankees loss until the bottom of ninth. Then … well, everything happened. It did end up being a 7-4 Yankee loss but with a lot of wacky and frustrating twists in between. Here are things that happened in bullet point form:

  • Montgomery’s imperfect outing: After retiring the first seven hitters, Jordan Montgomery got into a jam in the third after allowing an infield single to Craig Gentry and walk to J.J. Hardy. He struck out Joey Rickard, but Adam Jones hit a bloop single right in front of Aaron Judge‘s reach to tie the game 1-1. It seemed like Montgomery was nibbling a bit that inning until the at-bat against Mark Trumbo — the battle he won throwing a 93 mph fastball past him. Monty cruised along until the sixth when he issued free passes to Manny Machado and Trumbo to begin the frame. The Yankees had a 2-1 lead at the time, but Jonathan Holder allowed both runners plus one of his own to score, giving Baltimore a 4-2 advantage. While Montgomery ended up with 3 ER in 5 IP, he did strike out 7 hitters. I was wondering how he would fare against the powerful O’s lineup and to be honest, it was just along the lines of my expectations. Sure, he could have pitched better but …
  • LOB’d to death: … the Yankee hitters weren’t doing themselves any favors. In the entirety of the game, they left a whopping 16 (!) runners on base. For the first eight innings, before the ninth-inning comeback, they stranded 11. Really hard to win a ballgame that way. Wade Miley seems to approach hitters very differently this season. After being hit hard last year (5.37 ERA in 30 GS), he seems to throw much more out of the zone this season. He’s been walking tons of hitters (5.52 BB/9 after today) but also striking out a lot more (11.03 K/9) and limiting damage in general (2.32 ERA/3.74 FIP after today). For what it’s worth,the  Yankees faced Miley earlier this month and left 12 guys on base. Today the Yankees got 13 runners on base against the lefty and only scored two. Two! One of them was on a Matt Holliday solo homer in the 1st inning and another was on a Chase Headley RBI single in the 3rd after Miley walked Starlin Castro and Judge. That was all the Yankees scored until the ninth. New York had runners in scoring position three other times before the ninth and failed to cash in. It was just cringeworthy in the 2nd inning when they had Didi Gregorius and Chris Carter on second and third bases with no outs, and the next three hitters struck out swinging to let Miley off the hook. Anyways, we have more LOB fail to go later in the game. But before that …
  • Tying it up: Without their super closer Zach Britton on the roster, the Orioles had Darren O’Day to try to close out the game in the ninth. He got Aaron Hicks to pop out, then allowed a single to Holliday. The game looked to be in the reach when Castro grounded out on a fielder’s choice (just barely beating out a double play along the way). However, Judge worked a walk to reach first base and both runners got to advance on a very, very confusing balk call when O’Day tried to pick off Castro. Buck Showalter got ejected arguing with the umpire and the Yankees had two runners in scoring position, shifting the momentum the New York way. After O’Day allowed Headley to walk, Baltimore brought in the LOOGY Donnie Hart to face Gregorius with bases loaded. Didi send a dramatic, two-RBI single up the middle to tie the game up and put Bronx into an absolute bedlam. I mean, geez, after being so silent with RISP all game, the team comes through on a very, very crucial spot – how could you not love it? However, Hart struck out Carter (of course) to send the game into #freebaseball territory. This is where things got really, really weird.
  • El Viaje Misterioso De Nuestro Bryan: As top of the 10th began, Bryan Mitchell, who pitched in the 9th, moved over to the first base (???) as Aroldis Chapman came into pitch. The strategy here was that Mitchell can later go back to pitch if the game goes long. But don’t kid me here – it was an idea that not a lot of us would’ve seen it coming. Well, it almost worked. Chapman threw a scoreless inning and the offense got the bases loaded with one out against Logan Verrett. The two of the team’s hottest hitters, Castro and Judge were coming up so New York was going to walk it off, right? Not so quick. Verrett got Castro to force out at home and Judge to strike out swinging to escape. That would’ve been like a hell of a move if the Yankees won right there. Instead, they had to play without the DH (because of this rule), Chapman got sub’d out of the game when Greg Bird pinch-hit for him in the tenth, and Mitchell was back on the mound in the top of 11th as a position swap with Birdie. And, of course, Mitchell (and the sloppy Yankee defense) allowed three in that frame to give the Orioles a 7-4 lead. Verrett held on to it to win it for Baltimore. That was some teaser right there. The Yankees did win the series, but I feel like they lost more than just one game. Oh well.

Here are the box score, updated standings and WPA graph. The Blue Jays are coming to town next for a three-game series. Marco Estrada and Luis Severino are Monday’s starters.

DotF: Fowler hits walk-off home run to complete the cycle
Fan Confidence Poll: May 1st, 2017