The Yankees led off their Monday doubleheader with an 8-5 win over the Orioles, led by four more home runs and a quality start from James Paxton. Heading into the evening, the Yankees are 78-41, the best record in the AL. A win this evening ties them with the Dodgers for the best in all of baseball.
Let’s get to the takeaways from today’s matinee:
1. Yankees Offense + Orioles Pitching = So Many Dingers
If the Yankees got to play the Orioles 162 times this season, there’s a good chance they’d have reached 500 home runs. I’m not sure I’ve seen one team so totally owned by another, even in the Yankees’ best seasons. They now have 56 long balls against them in 16 games.
In the first inning, the Yankees made a team pay for a non-error miscue for the second straight day. After Brett Gardner walked, Gio Urshela hit a grounder to third and Renato Nunez tried for the out at second, but Gardner beat him to the bag.
A batter later, and Didi Gregorius smacked a ball into the bullpen for a 3-1 lead the Yankees wouldn’t relinquish.
They weren’t done. Gleyber Torres hit his 11th homer of the season against Baltimore, leaving Gary Thorne exasperated.
It’s pretty funny how defeated Gary Thorne is whenever Gleyber homers pic.twitter.com/3MmmDdNjX9— Matt H. (@MattHanifan_) August 12, 2019
From there, it was Gio Urshela time. Hitting in the two-hole for the first time in his career, he went 3-for-4 with two run-scoring hits. The first was a double to knock in Brett Gardner and the next was the longest home run of his career, a 111-mph blast that cleared the bullpen in left-center, 461 ft away.
Finally, Cameron Maybin would unleash a solo shot. Four of his eight dingers this year have come against Baltimore.
2. Paxton not letting first inning beat him
Staying true to his brand, James Paxton had a rough first inning. He needed 29 pitches to complete the frame and left with a 1-0 deficit. The Orioles fouled off 13 pitches, hit two singles and produced a sacrifice fly.
From there, Paxton found himself as he often does. He finished with three runs allowed over six innings, surrendering two solo homers while striking out seven and walking two. There were 35 foul balls, a season-high.
The two home runs both came on 0-2 pitches. The first one was not a bad pitch, a ball throw way above the zone to Trey Mancini. That’s what you want to throw on 0-2, a pitch likely out of the hitting zone that could induce a swing and miss. However, the right-handed slugger lined it to right field.
As with recent games, he maintained about a 50-50 split between his fastball and secondary pitches, throwing his four-seamer 57 of 107 pitches. Baseball Savant has him throwing his cutter and curveball 29 total times to go with two sliders (perhaps just misclassified cutters) and nine changeups. He got swings and misses on all five pitches.
The changeup has slowly emerged for Paxton and throwing it about nine percent of the time. He’s thrown it 13 times in his past two starts against Baltimore after throwing it just seven times total this season, according to Brooks Baseball. The O’s swung and missed at it twice and hit it into play three times and made four outs thanks to a double play.
3. Mediocre Cessa picks an unfortunate time to enter
After Tommy Kahnle tossed a perfect seventh inning, the Yankees clearly wanted to get through the final two innings of today’s game with just Luis Cessa. Protecting an 8-3 lead, Cessa continuing his recent revival could have allowed the Yankees to save the majority of their top relievers for tonight’s game.
Instead, Cessa had one of his few bad outings of the last two months. He faced five batters and four of them reached, including the first three batters. He walked two after walking just two in his last 10.1 innings and gave up a pair of singles.
In fairness to Cessa, the first single was a 62.8 mph blooper and he also induced a weak grounder in addition to a hard-hit ground-ball single. But he didn’t get the job done.
That meant Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman each pitched — Britton walked in one of Cessa’s run but got a strikeout and easy grounder to short with the tying run at the plate — likely leaving them unavailable for tonight’s contest. Britton tossed only 11 pitches and was off yesterday, so he could be fresh. But Chapman tossed 27 high stress pitches Sunday, making his nine-pitch 1-2-3 inning enough to sit him.
Still, the Yankees will have the following pitchers available tonight if they choose not to re-use any pitchers: Chad Green, Nestor Cortes Jr., Adam Ottavino, Chance Adams, Brady Lail and Joe Mantiply. Win or lose, that’s enough to get them through nine innings.
- Urshela was the only batter to have a multi-hit game, though the other players made their hits count. Brett Gardner doubled (and walked twice), scoring three runs. Gregorius, Torres and Maybin each homered for their only hit, while Breyvic Valera had a single.
- Urshela also had this nice play at third to end the game.
- New York has grabbed 13 straight games from the Orioles. There is an obvious disparity between their talent levels, but this has still been a wild ride.
- The Yankees are 10-1 in doubleheader games this season with one to go (for now). They’ve swept the Red Sox, Royals, Rays and Orioles previously while splitting with the Mets.
- Gary Sanchez didn’t look great at the plate. Waved over pitches for a couple strikeouts and grounded out twice. I’d be fine with the strikeouts if he were putting the ball in the air. He’s still just three games back, so he does need time to adjust.
- Not sure when in the game this Paxton gif is from, but it’s amazing.
The Yankees go for a doubleheader sweep and their 14th straight win over the Orioles at 7:05 p.m. tonight. It’ll be a bullpen game for the Yankees with a TBD starter while recently acquired lefty Ty Blach (0-0, 14.21 ERA in 6.1 IP with Giants) will debut for the Orioles. It’s going to be a 7:05 start on WPIX 11.