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

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

Triple-A Scranton (7-6 win over Indianapolis in eleven innings, walk-off style)

  • LF Tyler Wade: 0-5, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K — first game in the outfield this year … he started moving around as soon as Didi Gregorius returned, so I guess they were keeping him ready at short the last few weeks in case Ronald Torreyes got hurt or something
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 5-6, 2 R, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 CS — walk-off home run to finish the cycle, which is pretty much the coolest thing ever … this is the first cycle for the RailRiders since Ramon Flores‘ Opening Day cycle in 2015 … I do believe that was the last cycle in the farm system overall
  • RF Clint Frazier: 1-2, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 BB — three homers in his last 12 games
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder & DH Mason Williams: both 1-5, 1 K — Williams drove in a run and stole a base
  • LHP Caleb Smith: 3.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 2/5 GB/FB – 37 of 67 pitches were strikes (55%)
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 3/2 GB/FB — 18 of 34 pitches were strikes (53%)
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 0/1 GB/FB — seven pitches, five strikes
  • LHP Chasen Shreve: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — nine of 15 pitches were strikes … 12/0 K/BB in 6.1 innings down here
  • RHP Ben Heller: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 1/1 GB/FB — 19 of 34 pitches were strikes (56%) … 13/5 K/BB in 10.2 innings so far
  • RHP Ernesto Frieri: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K — 23 of 35 pitches were strikes (66%) … he’s been pretty much classic Ernesto Frieri so far

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Sunday Open Thread

I missed this yesterday, but make sure you check out Joe Posnanski on the rise of the Yankees. It is still ridiculously early in the season, and I know today’s loss was stupid, but I it’s tough not to feel like this Yankees team is different than the 2013-16 teams. There’s a very different vibe around the club and, most importantly, they’re playing much better on the field. On both sides of the ball. They’re fun and they’re exciting.

Anyway, here is an open thread for the rest of the weekend. The Cubs and Red Sox are the ESPN Sunday Night Game (Hendricks vs. Rodriguez), plus you’ve got some NBA and NHL playoff games on as well. Talk about those games, the Posnanki article, this afternoon’s loss, or anything else right here. Just not politics or religion. Thanks in advance.

Rangers claim Pete Kozma off waivers from Yankees


Earlier today the Rangers claimed Pete Kozma off waivers from the Yankees, the team announced. Kozma was designated for assignment Friday when Didi Gregorius returned from the disabled list. Texas needed a backup infielder, apparently.

Kozma, 29, went 1-for-9 (.111) at the plate and played 34 innings in the field, all but one at shortstop, during his short time in pinstripes. He was on the roster as the backup infielder while Gregorius was on the disabled list and that’s pretty much it. That was the only reason he was around.

With Kozma gone and Donovan Solano out long-term with a calf injury in Triple-A, the Yankees lost some infield depth this week. They still have Tyler Wade and Ruben Tejada in Triple-A, plus Rob Refsnyder as well, so maybe it’s not a big deal.

Game 23: Finish the Sweep

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

So the last two games have gone well, eh? The last four games, really, but especially the last two. The Yankees have punished the Orioles so much the last two days that Baltimore had to send out two relievers (Jayson Aquino and ex-Yankee Vidal Nuno) and call up two others (Logan Verrett and ex-Yankee Richard Bleier) just to make sure the bullpen was fresh today. Allowing 26 runs in the span of 24 hours will do that to a team.

This afternoon’s series finale is a chance to clinch the series sweep over the O’s and gosh, that sure would be fun. The Yankees have not swept the Orioles since a three-game set at Yankee Stadium in July 2015. They are 13-17 against Baltimore since then, and that includes the last two games. The series win has been clinched. Now it’s time to get greedy and start padding that lead in the AL East. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. CF Aaron Hicks
  3. DH Matt Holliday
  4. 2B Starlin Castro
  5. RF Aaron Judge
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. 1B Chris Carter
  9. C Kyle Higashioka
    LHP Jordan Montgomery

It is cool and cloudy in New York this afternoon. Not the most pleasant baseball weather, but plenty playable. This afternoon’s series finale will begin a little after 1pm ET. You can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

A Funny Thing Happened

(Adam Hunger/Getty)
(Adam Hunger/Getty)

It wasn’t supposed to go like this. The Yankees were supposed to be more fun to watch this year with a trio of young, exciting hitters in the lineup and a high-upside starter in the rotation. Then the starting shortstop got hurt. Then one of the trio got hurt. Then one of the trio started off the year terribly. But a funny thing happened: the fun kept coming and the Yankees began…winning?

If we told you that the Yankees would literally miss Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez for pretty much the entire month of April and that Greg Bird would do, well, what Greg Bird has “done” in April, there’s no way you’d be able to guess that the Yankees would end the season’s first month with the league’s best record and run differential. Regardless, that’s the case and it is just downright awesome.

As many have said and written and noted, the last few years of watching the Yankees have, at times, felt like a chore. They were okay, but not really good. And while it was still baseball and thus fun to us, there was something missing. Something ineffable and indescribable that made the nightly ritual seem a bit a of a slog. Now, each night at 7, we have something to look forward to that will actually engage, energize, and excite us in ways we’re not really used to as Yankees fans.

Sure, we’re used to winning, used to being at the top–even if the team hasn’t been that of late–but seeing a young group lead the team is a distant memory for fans of my generation, who may have been just a touch too young to really get what was going on in the mid-late 90’s, despite enjoying all the winning.

(Adam Glanzman/Getty)
(Adam Glanzman/Getty)

Given what we know about baseball and about this specific team, there’s going to be an instinct inside of us to wait for the shoe to drop. That shoe is probably going to drop soon–despite how it’s gone, it’s hard to imagine this team keeping this up all year–but we should remember to live in the moment for this team. Let’s keep enjoying the hell out of every Judge home run. Let’s keep getting pumped for every Severino strikeout. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for Greg Bird and welcome back Gary and Didi.

Speaking of Gary and Didi, I want to end this on something I noticed during yesterday’s game. After Judge’s home run, he was sitting atop the bench, flanked on his right by Sanchez and on his left by Didi. They were talking, presumably about the homer or the game, and just…laughing. This belies my ‘stay in the moment’ sentiment, but I could go for about ten more years of those three guys laughing and buddying it up in the dugout after big homers and big outs. That moment encapsulated the feeling of this season so far: fun. Who knows what’s coming today and after as we turn the calendar to May, but this April ride has been absolutely fantastic. Indeed, a funny thing happened on the way to a rebuild.


DotF: Gleyber’s huge game helps Trenton to a win

A couple roster notes before we get to a fun night in the farm system:

  • OF Jake Cave has been activated off the Triple-A Scranton disabled list and sent down to Double-A Trenton, according to Shane Hennigan. He had arthroscopic knee surgery over the winter. Cave hit .261/.323/.401 (106 wRC+) with the RailRiders last year, but there’s simply no room for him at that level right now.
  • RHP J.P. Feyereisen was activated off the disabled list and RHP Colten Brewer was added to the Double-A Trenton roster, according to Matt Kardos. Feyereisen missed two weeks with a shoulder issue. Brewer was sent from High-A Tampa to Extended Spring Training yesterday, which seemed weird. Turns out it was only a paper move.
  • The Yankees have released LHP Evan Rutckyj and RHP Kyle Haynes, reports Kardos. These moves clear roster spots for Feyereisen and Brewer. I’m sure Rutckyj will hook on somewhere else quickly seeing how he’s left-handed and breathing. Haynes came over from the Pirates in the Chris Stewart trade a few years back.
  • RHP Ronald Herrera will be activated off the Double-A disabled list tomorrow, according to Kardos. He’s been out since Spring Training with a shoulder issue. Also, in addition to 3B Miguel Andujar working out at first base, SS Thairo Estrada will see time in the outfield, Trenton manager Bobby Mitchell told Kardos.

Triple-A Scranton (8-5 loss to Indianapolis) prevented the system sweep … lame!

  • 3B Tyler Wade: 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SS — Shane Hennigan says Wade made a great diving stop … this is his first game of the season at the hot corner … he only had two games and 7.2 career innings at the position prior to today
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 2-5, 1 RBI, 1 E (throwing) — 15-for-44 (.341) with five walks and seven strikeouts in his last eleven games, so he’s shaken off the slow start nicely
  • RF Clint Frazier: 1-5, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • 1B Rob Refsnyder: 1-4, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Brady Lail: 7 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 9/8 GB/FB — 67 of 95 pitches were strikes (71%) … has a 5.10 ERA in 151.2 career innings at Triple-A and a 3.00 ERA in 354.1 career innings at all other levels

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