Although they are at opposite ends of the American League East standings, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles enter their three-game series in New York beginning Monday with transposed emotional states.
Gerrit Cole (4-0, 2.89 ERA) will face Jordan Lyles (2-4, 4.11) in a rematch of a gamelast Wednesday, won by the Yankees, 3-2. Both right-handed starters went seven innings and neither walked a batter.
Cole struck out five and Lyles fanned eight.
The Orioles have won three of their last four games -- all in walk-off fashion -- after a six-game skid, while the Yankees were swept in a doubleheader by the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. In fact, the Yankees could have matched their best start after 40 games in 80 years had they won the opener. The 1942 team began at 30-10.
But the New York bats went silent and the bullpen was an issue as starters Jameson Taillon and Luis Severino both threw seven innings, but saw those efforts wasted. Closer Aroldis Chapman allowed two runs in one-third of an inning as the Yankees dropped Sunday's opener, 3-1. He said though a translator between games that he is dealing with an issue with his left Achilles' tendon. It is unclear if he will need to go on the IL.
Manager Aaron Boone was asked after the nightcap if he is concerned about the bullpen corps, especially because key situational reliever Chad Green also will be out for the season because of Tommy John surgery.
"We've got guys that are very capable down there," Boone said of the bullpen. "We'll be OK. It'll create some opportunities for some other people in some different roles, and you know that's going to come in the course of a season and it forces guys to step up, and we have people that have a chance to do that."
Baltimore trailed Tampa Bay 6-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth Sunday but rallied with two runs to tie the score and then waited out a rain delay to take an eventual 7-6 victory in 11 innings on an RBI fielder's choice by ex-Yankee Rougned Odor.
"Pitching won us the game in a situation where it could have been ugly early," Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said, as quoted by MASN.com, "and they did a great job of just letting us hang around."
That's because starting pitcher Spenser Watkins was hit on his right (throwing) arm by a Ji-Man Choi line drive three batters into the game and had to leave. Hyde indicated that the Orioles will have to get some fresh arms from the minors before Monday's game.
Baltimore also seems to be buoyed by the addition of highly regarded prospect Adley Rutschman. Rutschman, a catcher who was the first overall draft pick in 2019, is considered the centerpiece of Baltimore's rebuild. He made his debut Saturday behind the plate against the Rays before serving as DH on Sunday. He already is penciled in to start as catcher Monday night.
One bright spot for the Yankees on Sunday was Aaron Judge, who hit his MLB-leading 15th home run in the opener and had a double in the nightcap. He is 12-for-33, with four homers and eight RBIs against the O's this season, yet is 0-for-6 against Lyles and 0-for-8 lifetime.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is teammate Aaron Hicks, who is just 4-for-22 (.182) against Baltimore this season. He was 5-for-51 (.098) in May before going 2-for-4 in the opener, but negated that by being picked off second to short-circuit a rally in the seventh.
In eight career starts against the Orioles, Cole is 5-1 with a 1.57 ERA, including one complete-game shutout.
Lyles has made five appearances against the Yankees, including four starts. He is 1-2 with 4.21 ERA in 25 2/3 innings.
--Field Level Media