Yankees offense has an Irene induced hangover against Zach Britton

In the first game of a doubleheader, the Yankees bats came back rusty, after the team had to spend Saturday in their Baltimore hotel during Hurricane Irene, being shut out 2-0 by Zach Britton, for the Orioles (53-77) sixth straight win.

Britton allowed one run in his last start after allowing an alarming 17 in his previous three.  This was an unexpected pitching performance from Britton because in his last start against the Yankees, on July 30th, he didn’t make it out of the first-inning while allowing six runs on seven hits.

Bartolo Colon will get over-shadowed by Britton because the Orioles got the victory, but Colon had a very respectable start in his own right.  He dominated the O’s for the most part, shutting out the opposition for six innings while allowing a run in the seventh and eighth.   In each of his last two starts he allowed five runs and two home runs, so the Colon from earlier in the season has returned.

There is some question as to who should be the number two starter behind CC Sebathia in the playoffs, but if can Colon can display another start like he did today, it should likely be him.  He was able to locate all of his pitches today and the over-weight Colon has been the Yankees most consistent starter this year besides Sebathia.

The only hitter who produced for the Yankees was Mark Teixeira, who chipped in with three hits, but they were wasted because everybody near him in the lineup failed to reach base.  The Bronx Bombers could only muster two other hits during the contest.

Curtis Granderson is having his first major cold stretch, during his MVP caliber season, as he is now three for his last 26.  However, he held his head high after the game, giving praise to the Orioles starter by giving all the credit to him.

The Yankees should have been able to score some runs but sometimes the pitcher just has the upper-hand, commanding all his pitches while knowing the scouting report, and that is what happened this after-noon.

The game winner ended up being Vladimir Guerrero’s single through the infield to Nick Swisher in right-field, which scored Nick Markakis.  This would give Baltimore a lead that their suspect bullpen would not surrender.

After Colon struck out Robert Andino looking on the outside corner to give the Orioles two outs in the eighth, J.J. Hardy would go on to hit a single between Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to make the score 2-0.  That would spell the end of Colon’s afternoon.  Sometimes pitchers get hard luck losses like this one, but on the other hand sometimes they get the victory after allowing five runs.

In the ninth inning Teixiera added his third hit by hitting a line drive off of the first base bag, which bounced into right field.  Rodriguez had the opportunity to tie the game with one swing, be he did not cooperate.  He hit into a tailor made double play right to Hardy at short to give the Orioles the first two wins of this four game set.

This also gave struggling closer Kevin Gregg (4.32 ERA) his 19th save of the year.  Also, the Orioles hit seven hits, two more than the Yankees, but they were able to take advantage of scoring opportunities.

At one point the Yankees had three hits and Teixeira had a two of them, which is not a promising sign for victory, even though Colon only allowed two runs.  Also, the Yankees’ seven strikeouts were way too many against the caliber of pitching that they were facing.

Hopefully the second game of the double-header brings enough runs so that the end game combination of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera can shut down the Orioles for a Yankees victory.  After not getting a hit this afternoon, Alex Rodriguez will have the evening off being replaced by Eduardo Nunez, at third.

Ivan Nova will pitch tonight, and they need another solid start out of him in order to have a chance of splitting the series on Monday.  He is likely one of three names in consideration for Rookie of the Year and he deserves it because of his 13 wins, while having gone more than nine starts without a loss.

On the other hand, Orioles starter Brian Matusz is having one of the worst seasons in all of baseball.  The Yankees offense should be looking forward to the first pitch as Matusz has allowed five earned runs or more in his last four starts, and has a sky-high ERA of 8.92.  The former fourth overall pick in 2008 has not nearly lived up to expectations so the Yankees should be able to have their way with him.

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