Yankees Thoughts: Another Bummer in Baltimore

The Yankees’ offense mostly no-showed for a second straight game in Baltimore, and the Yankees lost to the Orioles again.

Here are 10 thoughts on the Yankees.

1. The Yankees couldn’t hit for a second straight night, and for a second straight night they lost to the Orioles. The 4-2 loss on Tuesday coupled with the 2-0 loss on Monday gives the Yankees two runs in 18 innings in what is the most important series of the season to date.

Dean Kremer entered the game with a 4.61 ERA, but had no problem keeping the Yankees’ offense quiet: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 HR. The Yankees had five hits in the game and Juan Soto (2) and Austin Wells (2) had all but one of them. Anthony Volpe had the other.

2. Soto stared down Kremer after his home run, and when asked about it after the game, he said, “We were going back and forth. He didn’t like the shuffle. I bet he didn’t like the homer, too.”

Typically, it would bother me for a Yankee to be trash talking an opponent after a loss, but Soto can do whatever he wants since he represents the entirety of the offense for the season. This is his team and if he wants to chirp Kremer after blasting a 447-foot home run onto Eutaw Street, so be it. He’s the only one contributing offensively with any consistency.

3. With the loss, the Yankees fell to 0-9 when they score two runs or fewer this season, which is the worst winning percentage in the majors.

As I wrote yesterday, the Yankees are 19-3 when they score at least three runs, and yet they couldn’t do that for two straight days against the Orioles. They have the best winning percentage in the majors when they score three runs and it feels impossible for them to do so at times.

4. The biggest reason it feels impossible at times is because of their knack for destroying innings with double plays. The Yankees hit into three double plays in the game: Aaron Judge hit an inning-ending one in the first, Anthony Rizzo erased a leadoff walk in the second and Giancarlo Stanton ended the Yankees’ rally in the sixth. The Yankees have hit into 36 double plays, which leads the majors.

5, Nearly three years ago in June 2021, after a loss to the Red Sox, Boone said, “Typically, the better teams are going to hit into double plays.” Three years later, I’m still laughing at that quote. Here is the double play leaderboard this season following the Yankees’ 36.

Marlins (7-24): 34
Padres (15-18): 30
Blue Jays (15-16): 28
Diamondbacks (14-17): 26
Rockies (7-22): 24

Not exactly the kind of company you want to be keeping.

6. The Yankees’ double play problem is led by Judge, who has hit into 10, tops in the majors. His previous high in a season is 16 (2021), which he could break by mid-May at this rate. Judge is 1-for-7 with a walk and two strikeouts in the series.

7. “I think they’ve had a lot of good bounces go their way,” Wells said of the Orioles after the game.

That’s not how I view it. I view a young, athletic, fast team that puts the ball in play and is able to put pressure on the defense, even beating out balls that might otherwise not be hits. The Yankees, on the other hand, have players like Rizzo and Stanton going station and station (and at times not even doing that like Stanton on Monday) and I’m not sure either would beat Jorge Posada in a race during his playing days.

The Orioles may have soft contacted their way to a three-run lead against Nestor Cortes (6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), but Joe Girardi explained it best on the broadcast, saying, “They beat two balls out for infield hits where a lot of teams don’t get those hits and it changes the complexion of the inning. Very athletic and young, fast team. It doesn’t always have to be stolen bases and first to home. Sometimes it’s infield singles.”

8. This is Anthony Volpe’s batting line from the first four games of the season: .571/.667/1.000.

This is Volpe’s line from the next 26 games: .231/.310/.317.

Volpe has stolen one base on one attempt in the last 14 games. He has been on first base 14 times in that span and has run once.

It’s clear the Yankees don’t want Volpe to run in front of Soto or Judge for fear of taking a run off the board if either of them goes deep, but Volpe needs to run. It’s the one thing offensively he’s good at. Considering he is rarely getting on base (.246 on-base percentage in the last two weeks), it would be nice if he could put some pressure on the defense and make something happen on the bases.

9. Gleyber Torres made his losing play of the day when on a ground ball instead of taking an easy out at first tried to throw out the runner moving to third and hit the runner with the ball, allowing the runner to then score. Even on days when Torres pitches in offensively (which is rare), he’s usually negates it with a defensive or baserunning mistakes. On Tuesday, he made the defensive mistake and did nothing at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. His OPS is .549.

10. “Overall, I think it was a pretty good month for us,” Cortes said. “We could have probably won four of those 12 games that we lost.”

It was a good month (plus four days), and Cortes is right, the Yankees could have won more games than they did, much more than four.

The only true loss was 7-0 to Arizona on April 2. Other than that, the Yankees were in every loss. They lost by one run three times, lost by two runs six times and lost by three runs two times.

If they continue to play the way they played for four days in March and all of April, they will be just fine. It would be nice though if they could win the next two days in Baltimore.