About Last Night: Orioles 6 - Yankees 3
by Cary Greene
July 24, 2022
● Winning Pitcher: Cionel Perez (5-1, 1.41 ERA) 1 IP/ 1 H, 3 ER / 0 K, 1 BB / 18-7 PC-ST (39% Strikes)
● Losing Pitcher: Gerrit Cole (9-3, 3.02 ERA) 6 IP/ 9 H, 3 ER / 6 K, 2 BB / 112-80PC-ST (71% Strikes) Cole is now 5-3 for his career against the Orioles
● Yankee Home Runs: Matt Carpenter, 1-run HR (his 14th - 2nd-inning off Lyles)
○ Isiah Kiner-Falefa owns a season-high 11-game hitting streak, the third-longest hitting streak of his career and is hitting .308 with 1R, 3 doubles, 9RBI, 1HP and 1SF in that span.
○ LEMACHINE: DJ LeMahieu has reached base in each of his last 25 starts (since 6/21), batting .351 with 25R, 2 doubles, 3HR, 9RBI and 27BB in those starts.
○ Josh Donaldson, Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres went a combined 0-12 last night.
The Big Story - With the Yankees teetering a bit in what has amounted to their toughest part of the season to date, the Yankees stopper Gerrit Cole was poised to help the Bombers take control of the three-game series.
To give Cole to an early 1-0 lead, Aaron Judge laced a run scoring double down the third base line that a diving Ramon Urias missed as he dove to his right. Scoring on the play was DJ LeMahieu, who had reached base on an infield single, leading off the top of the first-inning. LeMahieu’s hit extended his streak of reaching base safely in each of his past 25 starts, a streak that dates back to June 21st!
In the second inning, Matt Carpenter took a Jordan Lyles 4-seam fastball deep to right field to extend the lead to 2-0.
Then, in the top of the fourth, Aaron Judge hit a blooper to center field that fell in and Isiah Kiner Falefa, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games earlier in the inning, came in to score making it 3-0 Yankees in a game that seemed like the Yankees were dominating.
Baltimore used a two-run fifth inning to make the game interesting though, Cedric Mullins knocked Jorge Mateo in with a shallow single to center field, then Adley Rutschman doubled Mullins in.
In the bottom of the seventh, Gerrit Cole surrendered a leadoff double to Ramon Urias and old friend Jorge Mateo singled to right field to score Urias and chase Cole, who had just thrown his 112th pitch of the evening. Cole was dealing 100 mph pitches en route to giving up 9-hits, but the score was tied at 3-3 so Cole’s efforts were for naught.
On came Albert Abreu, who relieved Cole and the Orioles quickly plated Mateo on a bang-bang sacrifice fly to right-field by Cedric Mullins. Mateo had reached thrid because of a wild pick-off throw by Abreu. Mateo was a bit too fast for Aaron Judge’s missile of a throw and so the Orioles handed the lead to 6’8” Felix Bautista who buzzed through the likes of Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Giancarlo Stanton in the top of the eighth to preserve the Orioles lead.
New Yankees reliever Shane Greene came on to pitch the bottom of the eighth in an attempt to keep the score 4-3 Orioles. Greene’s 2-seam fastball had a lot of late run and he was able to strike out Ryan Mountcastle before Austin Hayes popped up weakly to DJ LeMahieu at first base. Greene then walked Rougned Odor, which brought Urias to the plate. The results weren’t in favor of Greene. Urias roped a Greene Sinker 105.4 mph to deep left-center field to break the game open for the Orioles, who then had a 6-3 lead.
The Yankees made it interesting in the ninth, but they left runners on base, something they did all night, and the game was lost.
The Yankees are 1-3 since the All-Star Break.
The bottom of the Orioles lineup, Urias and Mateo, went a combined 5-8 with 3 RBI’s and that combined with a stellar outing from the Orioles bullpen was the difference in the game.
Player of the Game:
Ramon Urias was really the difference in last night’s game. He finished the evening 3-4 with 2 RBI’s.
● Jorge Mateo played a great game. His energy put the fire in the Orioles attack.
● The Orioles bullpen was dominant last night as Bryan Baker, Cionel Perez, Felix Bautista, and All-Star Closer Jorge Lopez combined to pitch four scoreless innings allowing the Orioles offense to victimize the suddenly shaky Yankees bullpen.
Better to Forget:
● Shane Greene’s outing was not what the Yankees were looking for.
Eyeballs really are an experienced baseball fan’s best way to gauge any situation and come away with an opinion. I’m not going to remind Yankees fans that the Yankees still have a commanding 12-game lead in the Division, thanks to a well-timed Rays loss to the Royals last night. Instead, I’m going to simply relay what my eyeballs saw. Forget the stats. Forget the Yankees record up to this point in the season. The Yankees are faltering right now.
Last night, Camden Yards was electric.
Orioles fans are pumped and their “birds” put up a signature win last night.
The Orioles got it done last night with dominating relief pitching, and clutch hitting against not only the Yankees best pitcher, but a bullpen that suddenly looks like a middle-tier Triple-A outfit. The Orioles beat the Yankees with speed, pitching, and timely hitting. Their blue-chip rookie, Adley Rutschman seemed to be at the heart of things, jumping to his side to snare errant pitches, calling a great game and coming up with clutch hits. He was the number-one prospect in MLB for a reason and he’s just starting to scratch the surface of his vast potential.
Despite what things looked like last night, I put on my pinstriped sunglasses and tried hard do discount what I clearly saw. If nothing else, Yankees fans may now finally regret Cashman trading Jorge Mateo away to the A’s in order to get Sonny Gray back at the July 31st, 2017 MLB Trade Deadline.
I lead with this sentiment not only because Mateo’s speed literally changed last night’s game, but because the 2022 Deadline is now only a mere 10-days away. Sometimes, toolsy prospects eventually turn out to be pretty good. Certainly, the Yankees need some help but it’s a good time for a gut-check and its apropos to ask the million dollar question: "What price are the Yankees willing to pay for a legitimate shot that guarantees nothing, at winning a World-Series?"
The Yankee bullpen is a mess right now. Albert Abreu now seems to be auditioning for the role of the heir-apparent to injured-for-the-season Mike King and last night he brought more 100 mph heat to the Orioles lineup in the decisive sixth and seventh-innings last night. While I love the idea of Abreu back with the Yankees, I’m not sure an approach using Abreu in high-leverage situations on a consistent basis wins the Yankees a 28th World Series championship. Control is very important in key spots and Abreu, who is striking out 22.3% of the batters he faces, is still walking 17% of the batters he faces (compared to Kings 8.0 BB% and his elevated 33.2% K rate).
I’m not sure Abreu is quite ready for what lies ahead, though I like/love him in lower leverage situations. Last night, he did his job though, so that’s something. Another problem was that Shane Greene was Boone’s choice to keep the Yankees in the game during the eighth-inning and he didn’t get the job done, not that it wound up mattering.
After last-night’s 6-3 loss, the Yankees are 31-16 (.660) vs. the AL East this season. For those that want to look past the loss and remind themselves that it’s been a great season so far, I suggest latching on to that stat proudly! It should ease the sting of the Orioles beating the Yankees when their ace, Gerrit Cole, was on the mound.
We can blame the loss on the fact that the Yankees were 1-14 last night with runners in scoring position and they left 11 runners on base. That’s probably “the real story.” Doing that should give us all something to talk about today!
Our hero, the Yankees “stopper,” Gerrit Cole, already at 105 pitches, came out to pitch the bottom of the seventh in what felt like an Aaron Boone request to attempt a heroically long start to save the Yankee bullpen from having to use a bridge-reliever.
It was clear to anyone with eyeballs that Boone truly feels he has little to turn to presently with a game on the line. I thought, instead of calling on Abreu in the seventh-inning, that Boone might ride Wandy Peralta, who’s LOB% is 74.4% on the season, but in a tie game, he chose to stick with Abreu, who had a LOB% of 95%. I can’t fault Boone as the move could have easily worked out.
Interestingly, in that spot in the game, Aroldis Chapman wasn’t even a consideration. If it were me, I would have called Chapman’s number. I know he’s been faltering lately, but he has a very high career 80% LOB%, and this year, he’s at 78.4% - which is one of his only positive stats. But, what do I know? I’m the type to let veterans decide outcomes.
Meanwhile, Shane Greene (yawn) who had been pitching to the tune of a 4.40 ERA across 28.2 minor league innings and called up from Scranton last night to replace the injured Mike King, came in to make sure the Orioles won the game. <chuckling> Green had registered an unimpressive 1.465 WHIP for Scranton with a 25.3 K%, a 9.2 BB% and a 4.52 FIP but Yankees GM Brian Cashman decided Manny Banuelos wasn’t bullpen material, so here we are, with Greene now pitching the 8th inning in a close game….it makes for quite an experiment and again, it’s not that it mattered.
After more than a decade apart, the 33 year-old Greene is back for another stint with the Yankees, He’s played for the Tigers, Braves, and Dodgers over the last seven-plus seasons since he was traded from the Yankees to Detroit (in the Didi Gregorius deal). In his career, including a promising season with the Yankees as a rookie in 2014, Greene has a 4.50 ERA in 342 games, striking out 438 batters in 469.2 innings pitched. One thing I do love about Greene is his last name. Sounds very intimidating!
The third game of the series against the Orioles at Camden Yards continues today with Yankee All-Star lefty Nestor Cortes (7-3, 2.63) taking the mound for the Yankees. Nasty Nestor is set to oppose Orioles righty Dean Kremer (3-1, 2.59). Game time is set for 1:35 pm, the temperature will be an unbearable 91 degrees to start the game and by the later innings temperatures will reach 100 degrees, with partly cloudy skies.