This had to be the most infuriating loss of the season, right? The Yankees haven’t played well in general this month, but sheesh, this one was ugly. The bats, which seemed to wake up over the weekend in Cleveland, couldn’t touch the remnants of Matt Harvey. Even still, Baltimore tried to hand this one to the Yankees in the eighth, but the team couldn’t capitalize. The 4-1 loss at the hands of the Orioles pushes the Yankees to 9-13, last place in the AL East. To the takeaways we go:
A Matt Harvey comeback would be a nice story, but the Yankees’ bats made him look a lot better than he actually pitched. Somehow, the bats scored just one run in six innings against whatever’s left of Matt Harvey. There was a lot of talk on Twitter and the broadcast about how good Harvey looked, but I couldn’t disagree more. He got away with a handful of hanging sliders, didn’t have good command of his four-seamer, and was gifted a couple of double plays. His sinker was his best pitch tonight — a pitch he last threw frequently in 2018.
First, the hanging sliders. Here’s where he threw them:
Those are mostly bad locations. The worst came in the third inning, in particular. We tweeted about it, but again: three hangers resulted in a foul ball, whiff, and ground out. That’s unacceptable.
Then there were the untimely double plays. With Giancarlo Stanton on first and one out, Aaron Judge bounced into an around the horn double play against this pitch:
In the sixth, the one inning the Yanks scored against Harvey, a DJ LeMahieu double play prevented a crooked number. Clint Frazier started the inning with a walk on five pitches. So for some reason, LeMahieu chases the first pitch he sees:
I mean, come on. What is LeMahieu swinging at after a five pitch walk? At least Stanton (single) and Judge (double) plated a run right after, but it was too little too late.
Now, Harvey did induce 11 whiffs on 40 swings (28 percent), but 8 of those were by Gary Sánchez (who’s slumping again) and Giancarlo Stanton (who whiffs a lot in the first place). So it’s not like Harvey was making a bunch of hitters look bad. The Yankees, for the most part, got themselves out with poor at-bats.
A mess of an eighth inning, which was served on a silver platter to the Yankees. It wasn’t just Harvey tonight. Later in this one, Tanner Scott couldn’t find the strike zone in the eighth inning. So what did the Yankees do? Swung away anyway.
Down 4-1 on the scoreboard, Frazier and LeMahieu led off the inning with back-to-back walks. Scott threw ball one to Stanton immediately thereafter. At that point, maybe keep taking? Instead, Stanton flew out to left field on the next pitch. On one hand, it was a crushable pitch over the heart of the plate. On the other hand, maybe don’t swing until he proves he can throw a strike? Scott has nasty stuff so even a hanger can be tough to square up.
Next, Judge walked to load ’em up with one out, though he did chase (and thankfully miss) a 3-0 fastball in off the plate. Again, more evidence to maybe not swing against Scott. So, with the bases full and one out, the Yankees were in prime position to get right back in this one. Instead, cleanup hitter Rougned Odor followed with an absolutely awful at-bat.
He swung at everything except the first pitch, a fastball way off the plate. How? Was he not watching the previous four hitters? Odor struck out, and Brandon Hyde pulled Scott for closer Cesar Valdez.
For a moment, it felt like things might finally turn the Yankees’ way. Gio Urshela ripped a liner to left, which looked like it would cut the lead to 4-3. I guess at some point the Orioles couldn’t keep getting away with miscues, right? Well, not unless the Yankees could find a new way to shoot themselves in the foot.
First of all, that’s awful baserunning by Aaron Judge. He should not have tried to get to third with the play right in front of him. Second, the umpires likely botched the call to disallow DJ LeMahieu to score. Instead of 4-3, it was 4-2 on Urshela’s base hit. Now, Aaron Boone could have reviewed the play, but couldn’t. It’s not clear exactly what happened, but Boone was livid and got ejected. Even if he was mad that the umpires didn’t let him ask for a replay, what was he waiting for? It’s the 8th inning — there’s no reason to save a replay review at that point. Just use it! In fairness, perhaps it was unclear whether or not LeMahieu’s run was disallowed or not. Regardless, just an ugly display all around.
Good grief, what an abomination of an inning. From bailing out a pitcher who couldn’t throw strikes, to bad baserunning, to bad umpiring, and to whatever Boone was doing, yikes.
Deivi García debuts with a different approach. So much happened after Deivi departed in this one that it felt like he pitched in a completely different game. But on the bright side, I liked what I saw from him.
One thing we’ve learned about the 21 year-old righty is that he’s always willing and able to make adjustments. Last year, it was shifting his starting position on the rubber to the first base side. Prior to tonight’s start, we heard about how Deivi tweaked his slider at the Alternate Site.
Indeed, García’s slider looked different tonight. It was a bit more sweepy than last year, with Statcast indicating less drop but more horizontal movement. That’s not all, though. He also was breaking ball heavy after never throwing fewer than 55 percent fastballs in any one of his starts last season. Tonight, the starter offered just 38 percent heaters to the Orioles.
Deivi got burned on a couple of fastballs in this one, by the way. Cedric Mullins took him deep to lead off the game on some high cheese and Freddy Galvis drilled an opposite field RBI double.
And perhaps that’s why he de-emphasized the pitch in this one. He didn’t get a ton of whiffs against it last year (18 percent), and tonight wasn’t much different (20 percent) in spite of increased velocity (93.3 MPH, up from 91.9 last year). He also didn’t have good command of it either.
The breaking balls were a different story. He threw 19 sliders (29 percent) and 13 curves (20 percent). He got four whiffs on 11 swings against (36.3 percent) and didn’t allow an exit velocity higher than 93.5 against those pitches. All four of his strikeouts ended with those pitches, and Orioles batters also went hitless against them.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, throwing more breaking balls resulted in Deivi having a tougher time throwing strikes consistently. He walked three batters today, which is a career high. He walked 6 in 28.1 innings last year. Two of his three walks were four pitch at-bats, and yet, he only threw one fastball in each of those base on balls.
Free passes aside, I thought Deivi pitched well. He was very efficient, needing just 65 pitches to complete four frames (Aaron Boone had a very quick hook. Seems like he didn’t want his starter to face the lineup for a third time, with the top of the order coming up for the fifth).
- A rare not so good night for the Yankees’ bullpen. Darren O’Day balked in a run and Justin Wilson surrendered a home run to Cedric Mullins, his second of the game.
- I don’t know if the 8th inning deflated the team, but if the 9th was any indication, it sure did. Valdez made quick work throwing 7 pitches to retire Gleyber Torres, Aaron Hicks, and Gary Sánchez to end this one.
- The Yankees have now lost four in a row at Camden Yards. That’s hard to fathom after the team’s dominance over the Orioles previously.
Tomorrow has to be better than what we watched tonight, right? It’ll be another 7:05 start and Corey Kluber gets the ball. See you then.