Putrid. Atrocious. A debacle. An abomination. All of those are words Randy and I likely used to describe the Orioles before this series on the podcast. Yet today, after this 8-7 loss and series loss, the only team they apply to is the Yankees. After all the heartbreaking losses they’ve suffered this year it’s hard to say this is rock bottom, but it’s easily the most embarrassing loss of the year considering the context.
The Orioles are going to lose 100 games for the 3rd year in a row. It is inconceivable that a team with championship aspirations loses a series to them. Hell, the Orioles were 1-15-2 in series against the AL East coming into this one. The Yankees lost 2 games in this series. That’s as many games as they lost the Orioles in all of 2019 and MORE games than the Rays have lost to the O’s this season. You want to know why one of those teams is leading the AL East and the other is fighting for a Wild Card spot? That’s why.
I hope you found something better to do with your Labor Day Weekend Sunday because that was 4 hours I want back. The Yankees are 2-6 since the 13 game winning streak and just lost two straight series to teams below .500. At least the Rays, A’s, and Red Sox all lost so the Yankees don’t lose any ground in the playoff races. Let’s get to the takeaways:
Call him Gary SLAMchez. After scuffling of late with only 1 homerun in August and being moved to the 9th spot in the lineup, Gary Sánchez showed up with two home runs today.
The first was a HUGE grand slam in the 2nd inning after the Orioles took the lead in the top half of the frame on an Austin Hays homerun. After yesterday’s debacle, the Yankees needed a response, and boy did Gary give them one. With the bases loaded following a Luke Voit walk, Gleyber Torres single, and Rougned Odor HBP, Gary did this:
That’s 113 mph off the bat and 430 feet of pure joy. Then in the 6th with the game a tense 5-4, he went ahead and did this:
You love to see it. After being unfairly boo’d early in the season it was incredible to see Sánchez get a curtain call from the fans in the Bronx. What a huge day for him and hopefully it serves as a catalyst for him to mash the rest of the year.
The Klubot is still calibrating. This start was eerily similar to his last start against the Angels – sharp early and then tired after 65 pitches. Kluber expertly navigated Cedric Mullins on 3rd and no out in the first by striking out the next 3 batters. After allowing a leadoff homer to Austin Hays in the 2nd, he picked up 2 more strikeouts. Unfortunately, that was all the K’s he would get on the day which was telling.
Kluber’s final pitching line was 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K on 78 pitches which signifies how he pitched. It was a battle all day with the command, and on a day the Yanks needed length from the starter, it just wasn’t enough. You can see he could only command his curve:
The cutter location is also okay, but the 4-seamer and sinker are nowhere near where you want those pitches going. He had an amazing 48% CSW% on the curve, but none of the other pitches were above 20%. Even the Orioles lineup can learn to lay off the curve when you have nothing else going.
It looked like Kluber started to tire in the 4th inning, and his pitch velos back it up:
Nothing the decline on both the sinker and cutter towards the end of his outing. It seems pretty clear Kluber isn’t fully built back up after spending months on the IL with a shoulder injury. The rainy conditions today certainly did not help, but we’ll need to see Kluber able to get through at least 5 innings his next time out to feel confident about him moving forward.
Death by bullpen. With a short outing from the starter, Chapman unavailable, and Jonathan Loaisiga just placed on the IL, a lot was asked of the B-relievers. Unfortunately, they struggled. Joely Rodríguez got out of the 4th inning jam but couldn’t get through the 5th allowing 2 walks. Albert Abreu got out of the 5th inning jam, but gave up a 2-run homer to Cedric Mullins in the 6th.
All that buries the lede because what truly buried the Yankees was an atrocious performance from Andrew Heaney. I’ll just post his line: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 0 K. Only one of the hits was hard hit but that is still unacceptable. And what is really unacceptable is that Andrew Heaney is in a position where he is pitching important innings. Luis Gil is dominating the minors and was dominant in the majors. You can’t tell me he couldn’t do a better job than Heaney right now piggy-backing for Kluber and making the occasional spot start. With rosters expanded in September in the middle of a battle for the first Wild Card, your best players need to be in the big leagues playing in important spots.
Why is Andrew Heaney still on the roster? The Blue Jays picked up Brand Hand at the deadline and after he stunk it up, they released him. The Yankees need to do the same with Heaney. I’ve used the word unacceptable a few times in this recap because that’s what it is – it is not okay for a team in the Yankees’ position with their depth and resources to have Andrew Heaney pitching in such important innings and games. That’s a failure on the coaching staff and front office.
Also, what on Earth was that bullpen management? If you knew you had Chad Green for two innings, why was he not used in the 7th inning after Heaney took a metaphorical dump? Using Green down 1 in the 9th is nowhere near as valuable as using him up one in the 7th with runners on. That is awful and inexcusable managing. The players need to come through, but the coaches need to put the players in positions to succeed.
- Mixed bag for Gleyber Torres today. He had two hits and two hard hit balls, but a crucial error in the 6th that led to the Mullins homer.
- Hell of a defensive play for Giancarlo Stanton to end the 6th:
- As if we needed another reason to promote the Jumbo Package. Between Gary’s homers and Giancarlo making great defensive plays, it was quite the day to pushback against a particular part of Yankees twitter.
The red hot Toronto Blue Jays (winners of 4 straight and 7 of their last 8) come to town for tomorrow’s labor day matinee. It’ll be Jameson Taillon (8-5, 4.44 ERA) against Hyun Jin Ryu (12-8, 3.92 ERA). Hope it’s better than today.