Game 4: NYY vs. BAL — Offensive strength vs. offensive strength in Birdland

It was a lovely 45° at Camden Yards tonight as the Yankees opened their weekend series against the Orioles. After nearly 6 weeks in the south with its unseasonably warm Spring, the regular season of touring the cities that have much chillier Springs begins once again. Tonight, the Yankees made a stop in Baltimore, bundled in their warmest Yankee-emblemed cover-ups.

Luis Severino got the start and had a pretty good outing overall. He threw 89 pitches in his 5 innings, giving up 6 hits, a walk, and 4 runs, striking out 6 Baltimore batters along the way. A lead-off double scored on an RBI single in the 1st inning to quickly get the Orioles on the board. Then with 2 outs and runners in scoring position just a bit later, Severino got out of that inning with a well-placed strikeout. In the 5th, a lead-off single and 2-out walk gave him trouble when a lingering pitcher found its way deep over the outfield wall for a 3-run home run.

Holder and Layne split the 6th inning to keep the O’s under control, but Tyler Clippard found some trouble in the 7th. A throwing error (the 2nd of the evening actually) allowed the batter to reach 2nd, then that runner moved to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt. Not that he needed that boost as a 2-run homer broke the Yankees’ bullpen scoreless streak in one fell swing and gave the Orioles the lead. Mitchell closed out the 8th in just 13 solid pitches.

All of this was, of course, in anticipation that the strength of the Yankees’ offense could over power and re-take the Orioles’ offense. An understandable expectation as they certainly started out strong. Brett Gardner led-off the game with a great single and stole base, before scoring on Matt Holliday’s 1-out single. Gardner led-off the 3rd with another single, moved to 2nd on a ground out, stole 3rd, and then scored as part of Holliday’s big 2-run home run, Holliday’s 1st as a Yankees.

And in the 5th, with 1 out, Gardner doubled and then scored as part of Gary Sanchez’ 1st home run of the season, a 2-run monster into the left field seats. So, with those 3 (Gardner, Sanchez, and Holliday) carrying the bulk of the offense tonight, it’s not a big leap to assume they might keep the momentum going. And they certainly had ample opportunity through the middle of the game. But the O’s pitchers seemed to be able to get out of trouble, and then be dominant in the latter part of the game.

Final score: 6-5 Orioles.

Seriously, Gardner, Sanchez, and Holliday were the powerhouses of tonight’s game. Gardner went 3-for-5, with 3 runs scored; Sanchez 2-for-4, with a walk, a run scored, and 2 RBIs; and Holliday 2-for-2, with 2 walks, a run scored, and 3 RBIs. The rest of the roster had a not so great night, but these 3 carried the load fairly well. And were it not for the 7th inning homer, I’d be writing a post about how great the offense was tonight by these guys. (Oh, wait, I am.)

In less than stellar news, prospect pitcher James Kaprielian was placed on the Tampa Yankees’ disabled list this week due to pain in his throwing elbow. He was sent to a doctor for a few MRI tests. Elbow pain is never a good sign, but the first place everyone jumps is Tommy John surgery. So far, the MRIs have returned with just a request for further tests. After this week’s results, Kaprielian will see a specialist in Los Angeles for a better prognosis before the Yankees make any decisions on treatment and a recovery timetable.

Go Yankees!

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