Two double games. Twelve strikes. A 2-to-11 mark with runners in scoring position. A .165 xBA team at night against Orioles’ admired pitching staff. This was not at all a recipe for resounding offensive success, and the Yankees failed to score more than a single run in 11 innings. The walk from the arm of Aroldis Chapman was just the dirty cherry on top.
But hey, at least Cameron Maybin made his debut in the booth tonight! The new addition to the YES network called his first Yankees game and got into a groove early, working well with Michael Kay. Unfortunately, the New York series was not nearly as successful. Their utter audacity cost the Yankees dearly and continued a disturbing trend of mediocrity against the Orioles, who go back to last season.
The top of the first inning started well when HBP magnet Anthony Rizzo was plunked to put a man on without anyone. Giancarlo Stanton, who beat second place with Aaron Judge on a free night, followed by driving a ground ball up the middle to put men in first and second place. At the start of the 2022 Yankees fashion season, however, the club failed to bring in any races, extending their run of uselessness with RISP to 9-for-53 to launch the campaign.
BAL ranks 30th and goes 5-to-55 (.091 AVG) with RISP.
The Yankees are 9-for-50 (.180) with RISP, which ranks 6th lowest in MLB.
– Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) April 15, 2022
Luckily (?) Jordan Montgomery is used to pitching without running support and was completely unhappy with the bat’s incompetence in the top half of the inning. Southpaw took the ball in the bottom half and threw a stress-free clean inning, sending the batter out again to try to find some success.
At the bottom of the second, it was nice to have Kay and Maybin talk about Larry Doby, the man who broke the color barrier in the American League a few months after Jackie did it in the Senior Circuit. Doby has historically been a bit of a forgotten man because of Robinson’s gigantic shadow.
Back on the field, in the second inning, the Orioles managed to get into the same situation as the Yankees had in the first inning, men on the second and third with two out. Luckily for the Yankees, some sharp defenses from DJ LeMahieu at third base and Rizzo initially managed to get Monty out of the second without running across the plate.
At the top of the third, the Yankees managed to scrape a run across. Kyle Higashioka, who had so far turned into a pumpkin in 2022, started with a double down the left field line. Rizzo did some of his work and moved Higgy to third place with a groundout to the right (9-for-54 with RISP now, by the way). And then finally, thankfully, Stanton hit one of his patented rockets – 69.9 mph from the bat into the right midfield:
The Yankees took their first lead of the night with 1-0. Nice – now, 10-for-55 with RISP on the season! It would not get better.
With two outs and Stanton still at the start, Joey Gallo, who has stuck baseballs without effect, pulled a ball off but managed to ground it against the switch. The base hit put runners in first and second place. Alas, LeMahieu flew harmlessly out to the left center (10-for-56).
Monty went out, did his thing and threw the prized shutdown inning. Despite a leadoff walk (gross) and a bundle that advanced the runner to second place, Montgomery managed to keep the Orioles out of the run column, thanks in part to another web pearl from David John at third base. The Orioles, who tonight came in even worse with the RISP than the Yankees, kept the form so far.
From there, the game remained quiet until the bottom of the fifth, when Monty, after handing over a single, decided to go Orioles’ No. 9 hitter for the second time that night (not annoying at all, honestly, seriously). With one out, it accelerated Clarke Schmidt’s warm-up in the Yankees bullpen. After pitching coach Matt Blake went to the mound and presumably had asked Monty to fix himself, he responded by knocking Cedric Mullins out and getting a harmless groundout to send the game to sixth inning.
For a brief moment, it looked like Monty’s escape woke the Yankees bats. Josh Donaldson led from the sixth with a single to the left that seeped into the away field. After a Gallo strike, LeMahieu hit a DJ-like groundball through the right side of the court. Gleyber Torres followed with a four-pitch walk to fill the bases. It ended Jordan Lyles’ furious night and Orioles went to the ‘pen’.
Former Yankee Farmer Dillon Tate stepped into the game to try to escape the mast Aaron Hicks faces. The switch-hitter, who has always had a sharp eye, continued to work his way into a 3-0 count. And then promptly knocked into an easy double play. Womp Womp; 10-for-57 with RISP and 2022 Yankees’ attacks delivering serious 2021 vibes.
At the bottom of the sixth, the Yankees went to Wandy Peralta and ended Monty’s star night after five shutout innings. Peralta rewarded Aaron Boone’s faith and outscored the Orioles in order, giving the Yankees’ treacherous attacks another chance to fill their slender lead.
Austin Hays greeted Peralta with a leadoff double at the bottom of the seventh, and like it was the equalizer in scoring position despite a masterfully pitched play to that point. A ball passed by Higashioka later and it was a runner on third and no one out. From there, former Yankee farmer Jorge Mateo hit a single to tie the game, even though he was thrown out at second base by Gallo.
Walks to Robinson Chirinos, and all the people’s smoke smell made Boone go back to the pen. The skipper summoned Jonathan Loáisiga, who, after dropping Cedric Mullins, put him on a 99 mph heater for the second out and froze Ramón Urías to record the third out of the inning.
At the bottom of the ninth, Lucas Luetge came in for the Yankees. Chirinos, who led out for the Orioles, slammed the switch for a leadoff single. Ryan McKenna pinch-ran then and Kelvin Gutiérrez pinch-hit for former Yankee Odor. Gutiérrez struck out, however, and Mullins (in the middle of his own nightmare game at 0-to-5) jumped out to Torres at second base. Urias then struck short for Kiner-Falefa, and this one was out for extras.
The top of the 10th began with Hicks at second base and Aaron Judge pinch-hitting for IKF. Surprisingly, the Orioles chose to pitch to the Yankee slugger. Not surprisingly, given the flow of the game, Judge neither brought Hicks in nor moved him to third; 10-for-58 with RISP.
Marwin Gonzalez then pinch-hit for Higgy, and after leading the count 3-0, he struck out (10-for-59). And then, probably because he likes round numbers, Rizzo turned out to swing to make it 1-to-10 with RISP at night, but also 10-to-60 on the season. Step up, step down. Hicks never moved out of second place.
The bottom of the 10th began with Urías at second base and Ryan Mountcastle at the barrel, opposite Yankee-hurler Schmidt, who induced two quick groundballs to Gonzalez at shortstop, replacing IKF. From there, a deliberate walk sent Anthony Santander Hays to the dish with two out. A groundout more later and it was out to the eleventh.
At the top of the 11th, Giancarlo came with Rizzo as Manfred Man. Rizzo, who tried to advance to third place after a ball shot in front of him, managed to get hit by the ball in the first half of the inning. A hit with a runner in scoring position, technically speaking! So count it as 11-to-61 on the season, and Stanton stood first with one out. Terrible trade.
Donaldson struck impotently to go on strike, and Joey Gallo struck weakly * at the catcher to strand Stanton at the start.
* Seriously, Baseball Savant had the ball on its way three feet and it looks like a generous estimate.
And I thought the top of the inning was weird. Schmidt managed to get one out, but eventually filled the bases, causing Boone to signal to the bullpen for … Aroldis Chapman. For those who kept scoring, the last time we saw Chapman was Thursday, when he almost literally could not throw a strike and had to be rescued by Michael King. Bold strategy, skipper. Bold strategy. They insulted the Yankees closer to immediately whipping the Mullins, but in the end, the Urias went on foot to end the game.
That game was an early challenger to the ugliest, worst, most uninspired loss of 2022, and honestly, I hope there is no worse. It was a brutal, horrible way for the Yankees to begin the road trip, and it’s more of the same from a team that fought to beat the Orioles last season. Come back tomorrow for game two of the series. 19:05 first pitch, with Jameson Taillon on the mound for the Yankees. Will the offense remember to show up against Tyler Wells? Your guess is as good as mine.