The hardest part about today’s game was watching Chase Whitley struggle his way through this outing. He’s been flawless through so much of the season already, even before the call up when he was in AAA Scranton. But today was just an off-day against the Orioles in this 3rd game of their extended weekend series in the Bronx.
Whitley’s 97 pitches took him through 5.2 innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 5 runs (including 3 home runs), striking out 5 Baltimore batters. And honestly, the struggles didn’t start until he gave up that first home run in the 3rd — a 2-out solo home run. He came back in the 4th to give up a 1-out solo home run, and it’s at this point he starts trying too hard to compensate for those runs. The next batter is hit by a pitch, a fly out for the second out, and then a 2-run home run before getting out of the 4th inning. Then in the 5th, the lead-off batter hit a double and later (after Whitley hit another batter) scored on a long single.
Whitley turned over the ball in the 6th to David Carpenter who ends the 6th with a ground out. Carpenter has a bit of his own struggles in the 7th — a lead-off triple scored easily on an RBI double to give the Orioles their 6th and final run of the afternoon. Reliever Chasen Shreve would come on for the 8th and 9th innings, keeping those pesky black birds far away from the plate again.
But the damage was done, and it was enough to stifle any attempt at a decent Yankees offense. The Yankees didn’t start poking holes into the Orioles’ starter until the 5th inning with Headley’s single and Drew’s double. A sacrifice fly from John Ryan Murphy scored Headley. The Yankees gave an attempt at a rally in the 8th inning. Ellsbury (in the only time he was safe on base all day, thus breaking his 11-game consecutive hitting streak) reached first on a fielding error, moved to 2nd on Gardner’s single, and scored 2 outs later on Carlos Beltran’s single.
And that was it. Well, there was a potential RBI single in the 9th inning, but a challenge upheld the original call of out at 1st on the sliding head-first Gardner. (It was pretty close, and because there wasn’t conclusive evidence to overturn it, they had to uphold the on-the-field call.)
Look, the Yankees were hitting today (they got 8 total hits to the Orioles’ 9), just not scoring runs. Without the home runs, the game would have been tied, so I’m sure the Orioles are thankful for what they would consider perfectly placed hittable pitches for those extra 4 runs scored.
But let me also recognize the Yankee defense once again. One of the most consistent things the Yankees have going for them all season is their defense. It’s probably the most overlooked part of their game, and honestly, it’s a really crucial part of why they’re still at the top of the league right now. And no where is that more obvious than in the persistent hustle of one Chase Headley. Today, he had more than his fair share of some great defensive plays. (Here is one from the 4th inning and one from the 6th.)
Final score: 6-2 Baltimore.
One more game at home against Baltimore before the Yankees hit the road once again. Like I said in a previous post, this May is basically on-the-road month for the Yankees. Maybe it’s just a nice gift this month for all the Yankee fans across the States who can’t make it to New York. (Trying to be positive here.)
Prior to today’s game, Chris Martin was moved to the 15-day DL with right elbow tendinitis, and in his place, they called up reliever Branden Pinder.