The Yankees lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 11-3, at Camden Yards in a game that they didn’t pitch well, hit well or field well. The only highlight of the game for the Yankees was that Mason Williams, who was playing in his first major-league game, hit his first home run with his mom, dad, brother and lifelong friend in the stands.
Michael Pineda (7-3, 3.74 ERA) got the start for the Yankees and it was a bad omen for him to start as he walked Manny Machado to leadoff the game. Machado would score on Chris Davis’s RBI single to right and Pineda’s struggles continued as he allowed six runs (five earned) on nine hits and one homer in 4.1 innings pitched. This was the first time that Pineda pitched less than 5.1 innings this season.
Pineda only had two strikeouts, in addition to two walks, in his 4.1 innings against the Orioles. In his previous start against Baltimore, Pineda recorded a career-high 16 strikeouts and zero walks. He has struggled since that game, as this was his second time allowing four runs or more since that start on May 10, and he has also not been as effective when given extra rest.
His previous start, which was scheduled for Sunday, June 7, was skipped because he was on track to throw about 220 innings this season. Even though his pitches didn’t have their usual movement and crispness, it was smart for Joe Girardi to manage his workload last time through the rotation because he only threw 76.1 innings last year.
“I just didn’t think his slider was sharp,” Joe Girardi said. “We gave him extra outs. This was not something that we wanted to do, but we don’t want to blow him out by July.”
Williams is the ninth Yankee to homer in his major-league debut. In his second at-bat in the majors he hit a homer to deep right to drive in Didi Gregorius for his first hit. He was the team’s No. 1 prospect after the 2012 season, according to Baseball America.
“Honestly that is my first homer of the year,” Williams said. “I just knew I put a good swing on a good pitch, I was just fortunate. I worked hard for this and trust my game all around.” Williams had not hit a homer in 201 at-bats in the minors this season and then hit a round-tripper in his second at bat in the big leagues.
“Obviously, it is a huge hit for your first hit. He will be back out there tomorrow,” Girardi said regarding Williams.
The Yankees were an inept 2-12 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann were both 0-3 with runners in scoring position as they went a combined 1-8.
However, Alex Rodriguez had two of the team’s nine hits and he is now only six hits away from being the 29th baseball player with 3,000 hits. Rodriguez, who hit a single in the second to drive in Brett Gardner, now needs only one more RBI to reach 2,000 for his career. He will be the fourth baseball player with 2,000 runs batted in.
In addition to not pitching well or hitting well with runners on base, the Yankees played sloppy defense yet again. Chase Headley, whose 14 errors are the most among third baseman this season, made an error on Many Machado’s grounder as it bounced up and hit his groin. He would have to leave the game in the fifth. The 45 errors that the Yankees have this season are the fifth most in the American League.
“Headley just didn’t look right,” Girardi said. “He was nauseous, so we took him out.”
Caleb Joseph, who is hitting .583 (14-24) against the Yankees this season, hit a homer in the sixth against Jacob Lindgren in what was the first of four runs in the sixth inning for the Orioles. Baltimore scored their second run of the inning as a result of Mark Teixeira’s first error in 109 games.
Teixeira fielded Jimmy Paredes’s grounder and tried to get Machado out at second but completely overthrew second base. Paredes would go onto score on a wild pitch by Esmil Rogers.
Rogers, who allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits in two innings was outrighted by the Yankees off of the roster after the game. This means he can decide between going to Triple-A Scranton or seeing if another team will sign him. Rogers has struggled mightily this season since he has a 6.27 ERA and has allowed 14 earned runs in his last seven innings (five games).
The Yankees (33-27), who now have a one-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the tightly bunched AL East, will look to CC Sabathia to get them back in the win column on Saturday.
After the 5-4 loss by the Yankees in 11 innings to the Washington Nationals on Wednesday afternoon, they optioned second baseman Jose Pirela to the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders. The 25-year-old had played in 18 games this season (43 at-bats) and hit .256 with his first career home run, one RBI and two doubles.
Pirela had his best game of his career when he got the start on Sunday, May 7. He helped the Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 6-2, during that game as he was 2-3 with two runs scored, a double and a 418-foot homer in what was his first home run of his career.
However, it was determined that since Brendan Ryan replaced Ramon Flores when he came off the disabled list, Pirela was not needed on the 25-man roster anymore. Pirela is just an average defender and had struggled offensively before Sunday’s game.
Ryan will be able to be much better defensively than Pirela, and he could be similar to Pirela offensively as he was 2-3 with a triple and an RBI in his first game back. He has struggled on offense the last two seasons as he hit .197 in 2013 and .167 in 114 at-bats last season, but he can be an asset if he can hit about .250-.255 since he is very reliable on the defensive side.
On Thursday, the Yankees called up Mason Williams to give them a back-up outfielder that they were missing with Jacoby Ellsbury still on the disabled list and Flores back in Triple-A. Williams was the team’s No. 1 prospect as recently as 2013.
Williams, who is 23-year-old left-handed hitter, hit a low 236/.298/.319 from 2013-2014 mostly at Double-A Trenton. He reportedly came into spring training with a much better attitude this year and has hit 318/.397/.398 with 22 RBIs, 26 runs scored and 13 steals. He impressively has more walks (8) than strikeouts (6) this season.
He has played in 34 games at Double-A Trenton and 20 games at Triple-A Scranton this season. In 53 games played in the outfield this season, has made one error, has two outfield assists and has a .992 fielding percentage. Williams is known for his defense in center field and uses his speed to cover a lot of ground. Williams will allow Brett Gardner to move back to left field more while Ellsbury is on the DL.
The Yankees intend on giving Williams, who is from Pawtucket, RI and went to high school at West Orange High in Florida, a serious look in the lineup while Ellsbury is on the disabled list. According to GM Brian Cashman, Williams will play centerfield against righthanders. The Yankees will have two players capable of covering a lot of ground who are natural center fielders with Williams and Gardner, which is just like what they have when Ellsbury is in the lineup.
The Yankees also called up Chris Martin on Thursday. Martin, who has a 3.55 ERA and has been on the DL since May 9 with tendinitis in his right elbow, will occupy the spot in the bullpen that was available with Andrew Miller on the disabled list. The Yankees signed Martin in the offseason after he was waived by the Colorado Rockies, and he started the season pitching very well. He had a 2.38 ERA after his first 13 appearances, but his ERA rose to 3.86 after allowing two runs in his 14th game.
Martin, who throws a four-seam fastball (95mph), cutter (90mph and slider (82mph), will be another option for the eighth inning that is more of an unknown now that Dellin Betances will be the closer. Other options for the eighth inning include Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson. They will have to be reliable with the lead in the eighth so that Betances will be able to convert saves in the ninth.