Prior to this weekend’s series, we said that the Orioles were at risk of being eliminated from playoff contention at the hand of the Yankees. Well, the Orioles’ playoff hopes are certainly done but New York is not to blame.
If you tuned in to the first three games of this series, you know that the Orioles shot themselves in the foot and played some of their worst baseball of the season. There was absolutely no quality pitching and the offense continued to disappear when it mattered most. New York ended up hitting ten home runs while outscoring the O’s 34-16 in the four game series.
Wade Miley set the pace for the entire pitching staff in his start (if you can even call it one) on Thursday. Miley managed to record just one out before being pulled by Buck Showalter. Nothing says “playoff contender” like giving up six runs in the first inning, right?
I wish I could say things got better after Miley’s exit, but the bullpen was simply not prepared to pitch a full game and it showed. Mike Wright tossed 3.2 innings of relief, but surrendered another three runs. Richard Rodriguez came in after that and only managed to get through one inning before giving up back-to-back homers to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. The two bombs added four more runs and capped off the Yankees’ 13-run evening.
Following Thursday’s blowout, the Orioles grabbed an early lead on Friday. Welington Castillo hit a line drive home run into right field to put the O’s up 2-1. This would be their only run production in the game, as the Yankees quickly tied it up and then took the lead.
Gabriel Ynoa received another chance to start on Friday. Compared to the rest of the rotation, he was relatively serviceable. The 24-year-old pitcher made it through a little over four innings and gave up three runs, but only two were earned.
When Ynoa exited the game in the fifth, he left a runner on base but the score was tied 2-2. Miguel Castro entered the game and gave up the lead on a two-run homer. The Yankees piled on four more runs after this and went on to win, 8-2.
Saturday’s starting pitcher was Jeremy Hellickson and his outing went about as well as you would expect from someone with a 6.54 ERA. Hellickson gave up six runs through just three innings of work. By the seventh inning, New York had already accumulated a 9-0 lead and cruised their way to another dominant victory.
Facing a shoutout, the Orioles finally got on the board in the ninth inning when September call-up Austin Hays hit his first career home run. The two-run shot was followed by a balk, but the scoring would stop there.
Another bright spot from Saturdays loss was the return of J.J Hardy. After missing a few months with a wrist fracture, Hardy got to start at shortstop on Saturday afternoon and went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.
On Sunday, the Orioles finally came to life and put together a quality game. Ubaldo Jimenez picked up ten strikeouts in five innings of work and only gave up one run. The offense took advantage of this quality outing by Jimenez and provided some run support.
Hays got it started with an RBI single in the second inning for his third RBI of the series and Trey Mancini followed with an RBI double in the third. For the first time in the entire series, the Orioles got a huge momentum-changing hit when Tim Beckham launched a three-run homer in the fourth. Beckham’s 22nd homer of the year put the O’s up 5-1.
The Yankees chipped away at the Orioles lead by scoring two runs in the sixth and another in the eighth to make it a 6-4 game. Thankfully, Zach Britton entered the game with two outs in the eighth picked up a four-out save.
The Orioles played a decent game on Sunday to pick up a win, avoiding getting swept. However, when that win stands as just your second in the past ten games, you have a problem. You simply can’t expect to remain in playoff contention after what happened in the first three games of this series.
The Orioles will return home on Monday for a series with the Red Sox, but don’t expect it to look or sound like a home game. With the Orioles eliminating themselves from the playoffs and the Red Sox currently sitting on top of the AL East, Camden Yards is probably going to be more reminiscent of Fenway Park in this series.
Image Credit: Associated Press