The Yankees should have cruised to an easy victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards last night. Instead, they blew it -- until Aaron Judge came to the rescue.
DJ LeMahieu grounded out to start the game, but then Oriole starter John Means hit Judge and then Gleyber Torres with pitches. Torres ended up having to leave the game, but he should be fine for the series starting tonight.
Giancarlo Stanton singled Judge home. Aaron Hicks drew a walk to load the bases. And then Luke Voit crushed one to center field, for a grand slam. So it was 5-0 Yankees before the Orioles even came to bat.
But J.A. Happ wasn't going to let it be easy. He allowed 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning, and 2 more in the 2nd. It stayed 5-4 Yankees, through an hour-long rain delay in the 6th inning. Adam Ottavino pitched the 5th, but the delay meant Brian Cashman, the real manager of this team (whoever is his field manager is essentially his press secretary), sent in a new pitcher, Jonathan Loaisiga.
He did okay in the 6th and the 7th. But in the 8th, he hit Anthony Santander with a pitch, and then allowed a home run to Pedro Severino. No relation to the Yankees' Luis Severino, but a reminder that, if our Sevy weren't out for the season, he might have started this game, and done better than Happ and Loaisiga.
Top of the 9th. The Yankees remembered that they are playing the Orioles, whom they do not lose to in recent times. Cole Sulser was now pitching for Baltimore. Cliche Alert: Walks can kill you, especially the leadoff variety. Sulser walked Gio Urshela. He got Mike Tauchman to fly to left. But LeMahieu singled.
That brought Judge to the plate. The big man drove one 413 feet to left-center, to save the Yankees' bacon. Speaking of meat: Happ and Loaisiga need to go halfsies and buy Judge the biggest steak they can find.
Zack Britton shut the O's down 1-2-3. Yankees 8, Orioles 6. WP: Loaisiga (1-0, and hardly deserved, ut the letter of the rule says he is the winning pitcher). SV: Britton (2). LP: Sulser (0-1).
The Yankees thus swept this hastily-rearranged series with the Orioles, and come home to finally, at the end of July, play their 1st home game of this Coronavirus-addled season, starting a series with The Scum, the Boston Red Sox.
They come off a 4-game, home-and-home series with the Mets. The road team won all 4 games: The Mets won both games at Fenway Park, while the Red Sox won both games at Citi Field.
The starting pitchers are currently listed as follows:
* Tonight, 7:00, on YES: Jordan Montgomery for us, Ryan Weber for them.
* Tomorrow, 7:00, on Fox: Masahiro Tanaka makes his season debut against Zack Godley.
* Sunday, 7:00, on ESPN: James Paxton vs. Matt Hall.
In addition to Torres' HBP not being especially series, the Yankees got more good news: Closer Aroldis Chapman, who had been stricken with COVID-19, has been cleared to return to play.
So, Yankees vs. Red Sox. The Hundred Year War. Come on you Pinstripes!