Game 60: NYY vs. BAL — Mason Williams, debuting as a ray of hope in Baltimore

Sometimes, I really like my job. I get to watch over 200 baseball games every season and then blog my opinion about the game and the players and baseball in general almost every day. I try to keep a positive spin on it because I do believe that it’s a great sport and keeping a positive attitude is a way to enjoy it, even through the really tough losses (on and off the field).

But sometimes, what happens on the field makes my job (and my night) a whole lot harder. Sometimes, it’s really hard to find the glimmer of hope, the positive outlook, the good things to share with the world. And while there most definitely is some a couple of very cool things that happened on this Friday night, there’s a whole lot of not-so-great things to talk about — including very sloppy defense, an error to break a really great streak, pitchers who couldn’t pitch their way out of a brown paper bag, and (the most cringe-worthy) ball to the groin.

And now that I’ve made you uncomfortable and depressed, here’s how the evening unfolded…

The Yankees got off to a pretty good start. In the 1st inning, Gardner and Headley each singled and Rodriguez walked to quickly load the bases. But then the pitcher realized he was in trouble and got the next three batters out before a run could score. I now consider this a bad omen as it would be repeated a few time this evening for the Yankees.

In the top of the 3rd, Gardner was hit by a pitch, stole 2nd, and scored on Alex Rodriguez’s single to get the Yankees on the board. Then in the 4th, Gregorius on base with a walk, newly called-up Mason Williams got his first Major League hit — a big 2-run home run, while his proud mom watched from the stands.

Like I said, the Yankees could get guys on base tonight, but getting them home didn’t come easily (unless you were Mason Williams, apparently). For example, they loaded the bases again in the 6th and left them all stranded. It was just not a great night all around for the Yankees offense. Again, unless you were making your Major League debut, apparently.


Michael Pineda got the start for the Yankees tonight in Baltimore. It certainly wasn’t his best start, but it wasn’t really that terrible either. (To be fair, the Orioles’ starter lucked out because while he pitched horribly, the Orioles gave him enough run-support to cover him. More in a moment.) Overall, Pineda threw 80 pitches into the 5th inning, gave up 9 hits, 2 walks, and 6 runs (5 earned), and struck out 2 batters.

In the bottom of the 1st, a lead-off walk, a single, and a fly out put runners on the corners. A run then scored on a single. In the bottom 3rd, the lead-off batter hit a grounder towards 3rd base that bounced up and hit Chase Headley in the groin before rolling into left field. Considered an error, the batter ended up at 2nd while Headley crouched over by 3rd base. Taking some time to sort out how serious the injury is, and recognizing once again the importance of protective gear in athletics, the game resumed. A single put runners on the corners, and then another single scored the lead runner. A 3-run home run pushed the Orioles a big 5 runs scored before the Yankees finally got their 3 outs of that inning. Then in the 4th, the O’s tacked on another run — a double, a single, and an RBI single pushed them up to 6 runs scored.

Despite attempts to push through, Headley wasn’t all that okay. He stayed in the game for another inning, even taking another at-bat, before he started feeling nauseous and opted out of rest of the game. We certainly wish Headley a speedy recovery.

Ryan took over at 3rd beginning in the bottom of the 5th inning. Pineda also wouldn’t make it out of the 5th inning, handing over the ball to Jacob Lindgren who got out of that inning before giving up a lead-off solo home run in the 6th. And it was on to Esmil Rogers.

Now, with Rogers’ recent struggles and the Yankees down 7-3, there must not be that much damage those pesky black birds can do. Right? Nope, here’s where it gets ugly. A single put one runner on, and then a force attempt ended up with runners on the corners due to Teixeira’s throwing error (his first error in 109 games, impressive and depressing all at the same time). A wild pitch scored the lead runner, moving the other one up to 2nd. He then moved to 3rd on a fly out before scoring on 2-out double. The next runner would score on a single before Rogers finally got a batter to strike out and end the inning.

But you know, a 10-3 lead really isn’t enough. In the 7th, the O’s come back with consecutive singles to put runners on the corners. With one out, a batter grounds into what should be double play but the Yankees can’t turn it in time, only getting one out, and allowing a runner to score.

After Rogers threw 50 pitches in his 2 innings, giving up 5 hits and 4 runs (though only 1 was earned), it was Chris Capuano for the 8th inning. Capuano threw a very efficient 8 pitches, keeping the Orioles from touching a single base under his watch. I’m growing to like Capuano in the bullpen more and more.

And one more comment about the Orioles’ pitching staff. Look, their starter didn’t really do that good of a job — 105 pitches into the 6th inning, 6 hits, 3 runs, and 2 walks. He just had the luck of the swings tonight. The Yankees struck out 6 times under him (11 times in total), while the Orioles’ batters only struck out 4 times total. The O’s bullpen did a better job keeping the Yankees from doing much, using their very nice lead as a cushion to take their time and throw some great pitches.

Final score: 11-3 Orioles.

I’ve heard it said that there’s something about Baltimore’s Camden Yards — some call it the “blackbird voodoo”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the Yankees just fall prey to that over the last few years. Of course, I’m not really superstitious, and I’ve seen the Yankees kick the Orioles to the curb enough in Baltimore to know it’s really just a terrible night. But when things just aren’t working, and it’s really just a big old mess out there, sometimes, it’s just easier to blame some mysterious force rather than to accept the inevitable — tonight, the Yankees just sucked.

Roster moves: yesterday, the Yankees shook up their roster a bit (though there was a bit of talk about this following Wednesday’s game). Jose Pirela was optioned to AAA Scranton; David Carpenter was traded to the Nationals for minor league infielder Tony Renda; Chris Martin was recalled; Mason Williams was recalled (and saved tonight’s game from being a big wash-out); and Ivan Nova was sent to AAA Scranton for his rehab assignment (meaning his return in pinstripes is just around the corner).

Before the game, the Yankees moved Gregorio Petit (remember him?) from the DL and optioned him to AAA Scranton. And just after the game, in a move that surprised no one, the Yankees outrighted Esmil Rogers to AAA Scranton. The Yankees are hoping Rogers uses his time there to figure out what’s been missing from his pitching arsenal and work on sharpening the skills they know he has.



Go Yankees!

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