Game 56: NYY vs. BAL — A rain delay to change everything

One hour and 37 minutes. That’s how long it takes to turn a Sunday afternoon ball game upside down. It’s also apparently how long it takes to have a storm system run through the Baltimore area and chase away all but a smattering of loyal fans to stick it out for the full game.

In the final game today in Baltimore to close out this road trip, the Yankees sent CC Sabathia to the mound to start the game. And while I can’t say it was the cleanest outing he’s had, he certainly kept things interesting for his outing and, more importantly, scoreless. Sabathia threw a lot of pitching in his short outing — 111 in just over 5 innings, mostly because the Orioles’ batters liked hitting foul balls in their at-bats to push up his pitch count. That also meant he lost a few of those battles as he walked 6 batters today and only struck out 5. But to be perfectly fair, he gave up a grand total of 2 hits and an even better zero runs.

The Yankees gave him a lone run for run support today in the 3rd inning. Ellsbury hit a 1-out single, moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, then to 3rd on Gardner’s ground out, and then scored on Alex Rodriguez’s single to score the Yankees’ lone run of the afternoon. The Yankees did earn 10 hits and 2 walks off Orioles’ pitchers today, but they seemed to fall in that same old song lately of leaving far too many of those players stranded on base without getting them home. And as we all know, you can hit 1000 hits in a game, but the only number that matters is how many runs are scored.

Which was fine for the Yankees for most of the game. Right up to that rain delay. Yates sailed through the 6th inning, adding 2 more strikeouts to the Yankees’ total of 12 today (impressive number, regardless, by the way). And then he handed the ball off to Dellin Betances, who kept things going in the 7th inning, coming back out for the 8th under increasingly dark and storm skies.

It was a sign and no one paid attention. Betances put 2 runners on base with a walk and a single and then struck out a batter (battling the wind) before his day was over just as the umpires called for the tarp. The rain started falling, the wind blew the tarp into billows, and the fans went scattering for cover in the concourse. And everywhere, Yankee Universe was praying for the impossible — that Buck Showalter, Baltimore’s manager, would concede the game and let everyone go home with a Yankee win. Yeah, that’s not his style. Ever.

One hour and 37 minutes (and countless Twitter and social media amusements) later… a whole new ball game.

Aroldis Chapman was tabbed to close out this game, despite those lingering runners on base from Betances’ outing. Chapman got a strikeout, but then he loaded the bases with a single (by Yankees’ 1st base coach’s son, by the way). So, the four fans left in Camden Yards (okay, more like a couple hundred of the 28,807 fans that originally walked through the gates) that were cheering hard, causing the broadcasters to comment that it felt like a Spring Training or minor league game now. True enough. And like the weird things you see in Spring Training or the minor leagues, a pinch-hitter singled and ended up scoring all 3 base runners, ending up at 3rd on a bad throwing error. A strikeout ended this disappointing inning.

And the Orioles’ closer blew right through the Yankees’ lineup to earn his 17th save of the season, while Chapman earned his first blown save of the season.

A rain delay, and a whole new ball game. Too bad.

Final score: 3-1 Orioles, Orioles win series 2-1.

And there’s some weather issues this weekend, and not just in the Mid-Atlantic area, so stay safe out there, Yankee Universe! There’s much to look forward to as the Yankees head back to New York for their week-long homestand, HOPE Week, and Old Timers’ Day. It should be a pretty fun week.

Go Yankees!

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