Chase Whitley allowed five runs to the Orioles in his worst start of the season

Mar 12, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Chase Whitley (83) pithes during the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 12, 2014; Chase Whitley against the Tigers at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan

The Yankees (19-12) lost to the Baltimore Orioles (13-15), 6-2, on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. The win by the Orioles gave the Yankees a 2-1 edge in the series. The Yankees will look to win the series 3-1 on Sunday afternoon with Michael Pineda pitching.

After allowing only one run in his first two starts combined, Chase Whitley gave up five earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched to the Orioles. He has allowed 14 runs in his four games pitched against the Orioles and in his 20 other games between last season and this season he has allowed 32 runs. This proves that he has struggled with the free-swinging powerful Orioles lineup.

Whitely now has a solid 3.06 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. However, those numbers would be much better if not for Saturday’s start. He threw 97 pitches, but really only threw three pitches that hurt him besides hitting Steve Pearce with a changeup.

Whitley started the game off pitching well as he struck out four of the first six batters he faced, but in the third inning Jimmy Paredes, who was in the trade that brought Lance Berkman to the Yankees, hit a solo homer to right. In the fourth inning, Chris Davis, who hit 53 homers in 2013, hit a bullet solo homer over the Playstation sign in right. Later in the inning, with Pearce on first, Alexandro De Aza hit his third homer of the season to give Baltimore a 4-0 lead.

Delmon Young, who had a .362 average in 58 at-bats against the Yankees from 2012-2014, drove in the first of his two runs in the fifth inning. Whitley was taken out of the game after allowing a walk to Ryan Lavarnway with two outs in the sixth.

Whitley relies on his off-speed pitches and locating the ball and this was his first start this season when his pitches didn’t go where he wanted them to. “Whitley was a little bit off today,” Joe Girardi said. “Pitchers are not going to be perfect.”

In his first two starts this season Whitley had improved his changeup compared to last season. After the game Whitley said that there were only a few pitches that he would have wanted back, and those were the pitches that led to the Orioles getting the win.

The Yankees also didn’t score enough runs to give them a chance. Wei-Yin Chen, who won his first game of the season even though he has a very good 2.52 ERA, had seven strikeouts and only allowed five hits and one run in seven innings. John Ryan Murphy hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Chase Headley in the fifth inning to make the score 5-1.

Headley made a few Gold Glove caliber plays at third base preventing more Baltimore scoring opportunities. He won a Gold Glove in 2012 and he could win another one the way he is playing defense.

In the eighth inning, after Tommy Hunter came into the game in relief of Chen, Carlos Beltran hit a single up the middle to score Jacoby Ellsbury. Beltran was 1-4 and is average is only .194. The one positive sign for Beltran is that he has one or two hits in seven of his past nine games.

Brett Gardner grounded out to first with runners on second and third in the ninth inning to end the game. Ellsbury scored a run, but his 0-5 performance ended his 11-game hitting streak.

The Yankees will look to end the series on a positive note with their current ace of the staff (Pineda) pitching. They will play the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. and will honor mothers on Mother’s Day by using pink bats.

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