About Last Night: Orioles 2 - Yankees 1
by Cary Greene
October 1, 2022
● Winning Pitcher: Jordan Lyles (12-11, 4.42) 7 IP/ 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER / 9 K, 1BB / 106-72 PC-ST (68% Strikes)
● Losing Pitcher: Domingo Germán (2-4, 3.31) 5.1 IP/3 H, 2 R, 2 ER / 6 K, 3 BB / 78-47 PC-ST (60% Strikes)
● Yankee Home Runs: Oswaldo Cabrera
○ ALL RISE: OF Aaron Judge hit his Major League-leading 61st home run of the season on Wednesday, tying Roger Maris (61 HR in 1961) for the most home runs in a single season in American League history. Judge is just the fifth player in Major League history (eighth time) to hit at least 61 home runs in a single season, joining Barry Bonds (73 HR in 2001 with SF), Mark McGwire (70 HR in 1998 and 65 HR in 1999 with STL), Sammy Sosa (66 HR in 1998, 64 HR in 2001 and 63HR in 1999 with CHC) and Roger Maris (61 HR in 1961 with NYY).
○ WIZARD OF OZ: INF/OF Oswaldo Cabrera has reached base in 16 of his last 17 games, including each of his last 10 games and is batting .328 with 16 runs, 5 doubles, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 9 BB and 3 SB in his last 17 games (since 9/10). He’s now batting .250 on the season.
○ Giancarlo Stanton is batting just .140 (14-for-100) with 1 double, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 12 BB and 42 strikeouts since being reinstated off the 10-day injured list on 8/25.
Big Story - Last night was all about stingy pitching early, as Orioles starter Jordan Lyles was sharp and Yankees starter Domingo Germán was equally effective, but last night was also about the continued boost that the Yankees youth has provided. All in all, it was a tightly contested affair throughout, but the Yankees could only muster four hits and only had three opportunities to bat with runners in scoring position. Baltimore’s pitching was just too good for the Yankee lineup last night.
Opening the scoring in the first-inning, Ryan Mountcastle put the Orioles on the board first with an RBI single and it wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth-inning that the Yankees broke through to tie the score. Impressive Yankees rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, taking advantage of being left-handed and playing in Yankee Stadium, cracked his fifth home run of the season off Jordan Lyles to tie the score through five-frames.
With a slim chance to make the playoffs yet remaining, the Orioles needed a big night out of Lyles and they got it as he tossed 107-pitches all total, the last of which was to Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who came up with a clutch single to open the bottom of the eighth-inning.
Hulking and intimidating Orioles reliever, the flame throwing Felix Bautista, came in to relieve Lyles and attempt to preserve the lead. Falefa stole second on a very close play. Then, Bautista struck out Trevino which brought Aaron Judge up with first base open. Judge was pitched around and then, of course, smartly intentionally walked by the Orioles and Anthony Rizzo came up in what was really the key spot in the game for the Yankees. Bautista struck Rizzo out swinging on a tough 91 mph splitter and then Gleyber Torres lined out to center fielder Cedric Mullins to end the Yankees attempt at a rally.
From there, Scott Effross worked out of a two-on, two-out jam to pkeep the game clsoe, but Yankees fans then got a glimpse of the future, as Orioles lefty DL Hall, who is one of the crown jewels of their system having been drafted in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft with the 21st pick, came in and retired the Yankees 1-2-3 to earn his first career save. Hall’s fastball grades out 70 and he’s a legit “Tier-One” pitching prospect who will give the Orioles yet another formidable pitcher for years to come.
Player of the Game - Jordan Lyles really deserved the nod here. He lasted into the 8th-inning and he really kept the Yankees offense in check as mixed in mostly biting sliders and running fastballs, with an occasional curve-ball or sinker mixed in to keep the Yankees off balance and frustrated.
● Domingo German was really solid yet again. I’m convinced he can be more of a help in the postseason than many fans might realize, though he does seem destined to come out of the bullpen. Here’s what Domingo himself thinks about his role heading into the postseason:
● One of the few Yankees highlights of what was a very quiet showing by NY came in the fifth inning, when Harrison Bader made a full-speed diving catch towards the left-center field gap to rob Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins of an extra-base hit! His “plus” defense in center field has made the Yankees overall defense even better.
Better to Forget
● Most concerningly, Giancarlo Stanton continues to look overmatched by fastballs and in general, he’s very out-of-whack. Last night he was close to being an automatic out and opposing pitchers are blowing mediocre fastballs right past him. Something’s not right here. I’m convinced he’s still injured.
● Zack Britton is still understandably struggling with his command. He faltered badly last night in the sixth inning, allowing two walks and then issuing a run-scoring wild pitch. What was truly forgettable was that the Orioles scored one run in the inning on no hits and four walks, but thankfully Ron Marinaccio was able to fan Orioles left-handed DH Kyle Stowers swinging on a nice fading 4-seam fastball that sat 94.6 mph on the outside of the plate.
My Take - Now that the Yankees have clinched, it’s all about getting guys right and lining up the roster for the postseason. Don’t tell the Orioles that though, because last night was a crucial win for their franchise. The Yankees are pretty much in postseason form right now, every run seems to be contested and Yankee pitching has been very good of late.
Last night Aaron Boone absolutely did the right thing, getting both Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman into last night’s ball game. The Yankees desperately need one or both of them to suddenly come to life so that they can bolster the high-leverage group in the Yankee bullpen, which presently feels very mix and match these days.
With only six games now remaining in the season, time is running out on this aging pair of former all-star closers. With both of them being lefties and considering the Yankees have only two other lefties in their bullpen and amazingly having only one lefty starter these days, most Yankees fans are holding their breath to see if either can regain enough of their prior form to conceivably help the team in what is now the eleventh hour of the season.
Aaron Boone seems to have identified Scott Effross as possibly being the postseason closer as he’s mentioned quite a bit about how confident he is with Effross in high-leverage innings lately. Boone also has been using Jonathan Loaisiga with success late in games so as things stand right now, Chapman and Britton are clearly still auditioning for postseason spots in the Yankees bullpen.
For whatever reason, Brian Cashman didn’t really go all out at the deadline to fix the bullpen issues though Effross and Lou Trivino have both helped considerably. There is no doubt that it’s always a bad idea to give up high end prospects for relief pitching, but It’s my hope that Cashman’s failures to land a closer don’t doom the 2022 Yankees in the postseason. A healthy and more important, effective Britton and or Chapman might make all the difference in the world.
Last night, Britton was very wild and appears to simply not be where he needs to be to help the team and Chapman came in sitting 93 mph on his fastball, which just isn’t going to help the Yankees either. Granted, Champman did finally touch 97.8mph during Rougned Odor’s two-out at bat, but Chapman’s pitch mix was decidedly slider-sinker and the fastball seems to be a pitch he no longer can blow hitters away on. His final pitch to Odor was an unimpressive 94.7 mph fastball that Chapman seemed to reach back and attempt to put something on, which Odor shot into right field for a hot-smash single. Chapman then picked Odor off to end the inning, but I was left feeling very shaky about what I had seen.
Chapman appears to be at the end of the line as a fireballer, with his best days far in the rear-view mirror.
With six-games to go in the regular season, it sure feels like the situation has reached critical mass. I frankly don’t know what to think. It really doesn’t appear that Chapman and Britton can help the team. I think we may be past the point of hoping there’s time for either of these pitchers to get it going. We can hope Clay Holmes is able to return soon also, here’s some good news on that front:
On another note, Aaron Judge’s pursuit of the non-PED achieved all-time home run record is going to be the big story each and every game from here out out, until the record is either broken or the season ends. However, another storyline surrounding Judge is his pursuit of the Triple Crown, as he attempts to become only the third Yankee player ever to win the coveted award that recognizes the league’s top batting average, the home run king, and the RBI champ.
Standing in Judge’s way of winning the American League Triple Crown going away is Twins infielder Luis Arraez, who Twins manager Rocco Baldelli gave the night off last night as Arraez only recently came back from a hamstring injury. Arraez is batting .315 and after last night, Judge is now hitting .314 which makes for a thrilling battle that will surely go down to the wire.
Sitting presently at an amazing 61 home runs, Judge is easily leading the home race over the Angels Mike Trout, who we notice is a distant second with 38 total dingers, as we put cream cheese on our bagels this morning and peruse the MLB box scores! Meanwhile, Judge with his 130 RBI’s also leads the RBI race over the Guardians José Ramírez, who has 122 heading into today’s action after driving in three more last night.
Lastly, it does appear that Boone will be sticking with Aaron Judge batting leadoff in the postseason. Never mind that Judge has 20 solo home runs this year. The Yankees seem to like that he gets on base at a high clip. In today’s game, the manager wants his best players getting maximum at-bats and so that is what Boone appears to be set on. I know we’ve dismissed this notion a bit here on SSTN, but it is what it is. This offseason, we’ll write many articles about what the Yankees did wrong, unless they manage to win the World Series – in which case, we’ll applaud Boone for being a genius and celebrate Cashman as the smartest and best GM in baseball, for the mob is fickle - or should I quote Seneca here, “..and so we see the same thing happening that happens at the elections, where, when the fickle breeze of popular favour has shifted, the very same persons who chose the praetors wonder that those praetors were chosen.”
Next Up - In what is their final homestand of the 2022 Regular Season, the Yankees host the Orioles for game two of this three-game series this afternoon at Yankee Stadium. Game time is at 1:05pm, as the Orioles will send right-hander Austin Voth (5-3, 4.19) to the mound to oppose the Yankees ace, All-Star lefty Nestor Cortes Jr. (11-4, 2.56).
This afternoon’s start will mark Voth’s 17th of the season (and his 41st appearance). Voth didn’t factor in the decision his last time out, on September 25th vs. the Astros, but he did last 5.0 innings, allowing one run on four hits with six strikeouts. Voth has a 2.78 ERA (22 ER/71.1 IP) as a starter this year.
Cortes meanwhile will make his 28th start of the season today and he’ll be working on five days' rest due to Thursday's team off day, having last pitched on Sunday against the Red Sox, earning his 11th win of the season after tossing 6.0 scoreless innings (1H, 2BB, 5K) in a 2-0 Yankees victory at Yankee Stadium.
The recent win against the Red Sox marked his sixth scoreless start in what has been a magical 2022 season for Nestor Cortes. He’s allowed 3R-or-fewer in 24 of his 27 starts this season, including 2R-or-fewer in 20 starts and 1R-or-fewer in 14 starts. Perhaps the most impressive feat of his season is that he’s made nine starts this season with 6.0-or-more innings tossed and 1-run-or-fewer allowed! He’s amazingly been the Yankees best pitcher this year.