It’s a beautiful September Monday afternoon in Charm City as the Yankees begin their final push for the postseason facing the flagging Orioles for this mid-week series. Baltimore fans clearly expected a better holiday show, but the sprinkling of Yankee fans found it instead.
However, both starters today had terrible outings, both pitching into the 5th inning and neither making it out of that inning. Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery had a slightly better day, throwing 67 pitches, giving up 5 hits, a walk, and 3 runs (2 earned), and striking out 4 Baltimore batters. A lead-off solo home run in the 1st got the O’s off to a strong start. But then a fielding error to lead off the 2nd scored as part of a 2-run home run to give the O’s a nice early lead.
But the Yankees weren’t having that. Montgomery shut them down, still exiting the game in the 5th inning, but handing over the ball to the ever reliable Chad Green. Green breezed his way to close out the 5th and then continued to shut down the O’s in the 6th and 7th innings, adding 4 strikeouts of his own and setting himself up for the eventual win.
David Robertson had a bit of trouble in the 8th, giving up 2 walks, but his 2 strikeouts and veteran cool got him out of the inning without adding to the Orioles’ score. Dellin Betances got the first 2 outs of the 9th but then a solo shot put one more on the board for the home team before Betances got out of the inning with his 2nd strikeout. Yankee pitchers racked up a total of 12 strikeouts against the Baltimore offense.
Meanwhile, the Yankee offense found its momentum in the middle third of the game. In the 4th, Castro led-off with a single and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ 2-run home run, his 20th of the season. Then Judge walked, moved to 2nd on Frazier’s 1-out walk, and then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single. And the game was tied at this point.
So, the Yankees continued their advance in the 5th inning with a bit of deja vu. Headley led-off with a single and then scored on Starlin Castro’s 2-run home run. That ended the Baltimore starter’s day (after 98 pitches) and the O’s would dip into their bullpen. In the 6th, Frazier and Ellsbury worked consecutive walks and moved up on Romine’s sacrifice bunt. A new reliever got a ground out off Brett Gardner, but Frazier still scored. After walking Headley, the Orioles got a new pitcher to give up a single to Starlin Castro to score Ellsbury to ensure the Yankees a victory today.
The biggest problem for the Orioles’ pitching was the 10 walks they gave up. The Yankees may be the “Bronx Bombers”, but they’re not against playing some small ball and capitalizing on handouts like consecutive walks and well-placed singles.
Final score: 7-4 Yankees
Aaron Judge had an interesting offensive day. He went 1-for-1 with a run scored and 4 walks. For a guy who’s known for his massive home runs, he’s certainly worked his way into a new category, now sitting at 103 walks for this season. And because it’s Judge, he’s now in some pretty legendary company for a weird statistic. Yankees age 25 and under with 35+ home runs and 100+ walks in a single season are Judge, Mantle (1955-1956), Gehrig (1927), and Ruth (1920). Usually, people associate power-hitters like Judge with a large amount of strikeouts, so don’t worry — he’s still got plenty of those (181) this season too.
Gary Sanchez was out of today’s lineup, starting his suspension for his involvement in the scuffle on August 24 in Detroit. Originally, he was issued a 4-game suspension, but upon appeal, the ruling was reduced to 3 games. So it looks like he’ll be out for the Baltimore series. Austin Romine was issued a 2-game suspension for his part that day, but his appeal is ongoing and thus he was today’s catcher. Sanchez issued an apology to the fans on his personal Facebook page.