While a small winning streak on a home stand following the All Star Break wasn’t going to change the direction of the Yankees’ season, it was a nice recess from the borderline-.500 slog of the first half. Unfortunately, Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Orioles broke the four game run of success, also bringing the Yankees back to just one game over .500.
According to the box score, the loss can be directly attributed to yet another rough outing from CC Sabathia. While he technically was responsible for the four earned runs allowed 6.2 innings, the veteran didn’t pitch poorly. He allowed seven hits (and a walk), but a number of those hits were either weakly struck or infield singles. Sabathia didn’t exactly have his strikeout stuff working, but the Orioles didn’t make much hard contract against him.
Instead, the blame for this loss should be shifted toward the offense. The Yankees managed just five hits (and two walks) the entire game, also unable to cash in on the few opportunities they created. The only run came on a Starlin Castro single following a Didi Gregorius double in the second inning, and other than that the Yankees pushed a runner into scoring position just once (in the first inning).
One of the few bright spots of the afternoon came from the glove of Starlin Castro, who made a number of very good plays at second base. He hasn’t been great in the field so far this season (-2.0 FRAA), and it seemed like the former shortstop came close to making a number of good plays, but never really executed. On Thursday, though, he was able to succeed on all the challenging plays.
The Play: Jonathan Schoop doubles in two (+.203 WPA)
As great as Carlos Beltran has been this season at the plate, he never fails to remind us why designated hitter should be his full-time position. Thursday’s reminder came when Jonathan Schoop doubled to right field, and Beltran’s slow legs allowed both runners (from first and second) to score. Given the Orioles’ stout bullpen, the game was effectively ended when Baltimore’s lead was extended from one run to three.
Yankees: Starlin Castro (1-3, RBI, K)
Orioles: Jonathan Schoop (2-5, 2B, R, 2 RBI)
The Highlight: Starlin Castro makes (another) nice play
There were three Starlin Castro plays to choose from here, but I went with this smooth play because…well, it was pretty. It wasn’t exactly a game changing moment, but sums up Castro’s day nicely: he made all the routine plays, and all the hard plays, too.
After a series win against the Orioles, the Yankees get to face one of the best teams in baseball in the Giants. They’ll be sending out Madison Bumgarner (2.12 ERA), Jeff Samardzija (4.04 ERA), and Johnny Cueto (2.64 ERA) in what could be a tough weekend for offense. Masahiro Tanaka will draw the start on five days rest Friday, followed by Ivan Nova and Nathan Eovaldi on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Photo: Anthony Grupposo/USA Today Sports