Sabathia’s newest kryptonite
As exciting as this season has been for the Yankees, they hadn’t been able to beat up on the dreadful Orioles. Their frustrations against baseball’s cellar-dweller continued in the opener of Monday’s doubleheader as they blew a three-run lead and lost 5-4.
This was the fourth time this season the Yankees have blown a lead of three-or-more runs and lost against a team that entered the day with a win percentage below .400. That’s the most such losses of any team in the majors this season. And here’s an unfathomable stat to chew on: from 2011-17, they suffered only four such losses in those seven seasons combined.
CC Sabathia cruised through the first three innings, before getting into trouble in the fourth and then imploding in the sixth. This continued a string of awful starts against the Orioles, as he’s now winless with a 5.96 ERA in his last eight starts against them since mid-2016. And it’s somehow been even worse recently:
CC Sabathia Last 4 Games vs Orioles:
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) July 9, 2018
Should Aaron Boone have sent Sabathia out for the sixth inning, with the heart of the Orioles order coming to bat for the third time? The numbers say he’s really struggled in that situation this year:
So, the third/fourth time through the order, he’s almost turned every batter into J.D. Martinez (.330/.393/.649) this season.
Hail, Gritty Gutty Brett Gardner
The Yankees avoided the ultimate embarrassment — getting swept by the worst team in baseball — and destroyed the Orioles, 10-2, in the nightcap of Monday’s doubleheader.
The bats finally woke up (17 hits) and came through in the clutch (7-for-15 with RISP) as they produced one of their best offensive games in Baltimore in more than a decade. Its the first time since a 10-2 win on September 2, 2009 that they scored double-digit runs and had more than 15 hits at Camden Yards.
And if you want to consider the power display — seven homers and two doubles — this game was nearly unprecedented. The only other time the Yankees scored at least 10 runs and had nine extra-base hits in a game in Baltimore was a 16-0 win over the Orioles on April 30, 1960!
Brett Gardner sparked the offense, going 4-for-6 with a homer and three RBI. Dating back to the start of 2017 (and including the postseason), the Yankees are 22-3 when Gardy homers in a game. His awesome effort also earned him our coveted Obscure Yankeemetric of the Series: this is Gardner’s fourth career game with at least four hits and three RBI from the leadoff spot. That’s the most 4-hit, 3-RBI games by any leadoff batter in franchise history.
Luis Cessa delivered one of the best performances of his career, throwing six scoreless innings and getting his first win as a starter since August 26, 2016 against the Orioles. Gio Gallegos pitched the final three frames and converted the rare three-inning save, his first career major-league save. It also produced this cool note: Cessa and Gallegos are the first Mexican-born tandem to earn a win and save in the same game for the Yankees.
Deja Vu All Over Again
The Yankees mediocre play against the Orioles reached dire levels on Tuesday night as they blew multiple leads and again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory when the Orioles won it on a game-ending hit in the bottom of the ninth.
The fact that the Yankees have struggled to string together wins here in Baltimore is not surprising. They entered this series with a 13-25 (.342) record at Camden Yards over the last five seasons, easily their worst at any AL ballpark since 2014. In fact, its also by far the worst record at Camden Yards for any of the AL East teams in the span; the Rays, Blue Jays and Red Sox have each won at least 43 percent of their games there since 2014.
Masahiro Tanaka came off the DL to make his first start since June 8, and he was back to being the typical Tanaka, giving up the #Obligatoryhomerun. It was an 89-mph fastball perfectly placed in the meatball zone, ready for Manny Machado to crush 444 feet into the left-centerfield seats.
Tanaka has allowed 52 homers in 44 games (255 1/3 innings) since the start of 2017, tied with Ian Kennedy for the most in the majors over the last two seasons. His home run rate in 2018 is now 2.0 per 9 IP, which is on pace to be the worst ever for any Yankee pitcher with at least 20 starts in a season.
Machado delivered the biggest blows, tying the game twice with a solo homer in the fifth and a two-run shot in seventh. Those were his 19th and 20th homers against the Yankees since 2015, five more than any other player has hit in the last four seasons. It was also his fourth career multi-homer game versus the Yankees, the most of any player against them since his debut in 2012.
Deja Vu All Over Again, Part II
Two down, two up for the Yankees as they routed the Orioles, 9-0, to split the four-game series. It was their largest shutout win ever at Camden Yards, and their largest against the Orioles in Baltimore since a 10-0 blanking on June 19, 1985 at Memorial Stadium. This was also the Yankees seventh shutout in 2018, matching their total from all of last year.
Greg Bird broke the game open when he went deep with the bases loaded in the third inning, belting his first career grand slam to give the Yankees a 5-0 lead. Bird was 1-for-14 with seven strikeouts in his career with the bases full before hitting that homer. He joined a sweet group of Yankee first baseman to hit a grand slam in Baltimore:
- Tino Martinez May 1, 1996
- Don Mattingly Sept. 25, 1987
- Bill Skowron April 22, 1961 and April 14, 1959
It was also his second straight game with at least four RBI, the first Yankee to do that since Alfonso Soriano in 2013. And he also earned this #FunFact: Bird is the only player in franchise history to drive in at least four runs in back-to-back games against the Orioles (since the team changed its nickname and moved to Baltimore in 1954).
Giancarlo Stanton quietly had another huge game at the plate, going 4-for-5 with two RBI. His five games with at least four hits are the most in MLB — and the same number that the rest of the Yankees have combined this season.
Sonny Gray bounced back from his two worst starts as a Yankee to throw one of his best starts as a Yankee, holding the Orioles scoreless over six innings while striking out eight. In four starts against the Royals and Orioles this season he is 4-0 with a 1.73 ERA; against all other teams this season he is 2-7 with a 6.96 ERA.
If only he could pitch all his games at Camden Yards against the Orioles …
Sonny Gray at Camden Yards with Yankees:
— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) July 12, 2018