Take a deep breath, Yankees fans. The sky is not falling. The season is not over.
But yeah, this was bad.
The cellar-dwelling Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees for the second time in three games, this time 6-5 on a walk-off single from Jonathan Schoop in the bottom of the ninth. This happened after Greg Bird homered earlier in the game to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead. Then he hit a sac fly to break a 3-3 tie. The Yankees led by two going into the bottom of the seventh and still could not make it last.
Now 3.5 games behind the Red Sox, who just don’t lose anymore, the Yankees will look to salvage a split with the worst team in baseball on Wednesday with Sonny Gray on the mound.
The two-run home run from Manny Machado in the bottom of the seventh was about as brutal a gut punch as you could have in July. The Yankees had fought back twice already in this game and finally appeared to have some breathing room with a two-run lead and their lock-down bullpen in the game. It took one swing from Machado to change that. Sure, it only tied the game at 5-5, but it felt like that was the crushing blow.
—The Yankees’ lack of success against the lowly Orioles is becoming more than just an odd footnote to the season. It’s seriously hurting the Yankees’ chances at the division. Sure, it’s only July and the Yankees are only 3.5 back. But the Red Sox don’t lose. Especially against bad teams. Making up ground is going to be really tough and these games should be the gimmes. Losing three out of four to the O’s — a distinct possibility with Gray pitching tomorrow — would be inexcusable.
—It was good to see Masahiro Tanaka back, even if his final line wasn’t that great. He wasn’t his sharpest, but at least for his first three innings of work, was able to find his way out of trouble. He’s not the reason the Yankees lost this game and you can expect him to get better as he continues to work his way back.
—A good way to keep Machado from killing the Yankees in the future would be for him to be on the Yankees. Just saying.
Player of the game: If you want to go for a Yankee, it’s Greg Bird. If you want to go for a future Yankee, it’s Manny Machado (jokes, maybe). As noted above, Bird got the Yankees on the board with his three-run home run then put them ahead later with a sac fly. We could ignore everything that happened after that. Now comes the big question: Is this what gets Bird going? Despite six home runs in truncated time, his average is still hovering just above .200. Some more consistency from him would give Yankees fans some peace of mind and maybe quiet those Mike Moustakas murmurs for a little bit.
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