April 1, 2019

Schadenfreude 247 (A Continuing Series)

Dan Martin, Post:
The Yankees' start to the season took another bad turn Monday, when they placed Giancarlo Stanton on the 10-day injured list with a left biceps strain. ...

He'll join Aaron Hicks (lower back stiffness), Luis Severino (rotator cuff inflammation) and Dellin Betances (shoulder impingement) as key players who have gone down with injuries already in this young season.

That's in addition to Didi Gregorius, who is rehabbing offseason Tommy John surgery, and CC Sabathia, whose rehab from knee surgery was delayed by a heart scare in December. Plus, Jacoby Ellsbury is still recovering from left hip surgery.

George A. King III, Post:
Three games into a season in which the Yankees are expected to battle the Red Sox for AL East supremacy, they dropped two of three to the lowly Orioles at home.

After winning on Opening Day, the Yankees lost the series with a 7-5 loss on a dreary Sunday in The Bronx. Not only did they lose to the Orioles, the Yankees had to wait three hours and 17 minutes to start the game due to rain. Then they didn't pitch or hit in the clutch and watched Gary Sanchez make a second throwing error in as many games that led to a run. ...

In his first start of the season, J.A. Happ gave up a three-run homer to Renato Nunez in the first inning and a solo blast to Trey Mancini in the third that lifted the O's to a 4-0 lead. The Yankees went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Sanchez made a throwing error in the fifth that led to another Orioles run. Aaron Boone elected to allow neophyte lefty Stephen Tarpley to pitch to the right-handed hitting Joey Rickard with left-handed strikeout machine Chris Davis on deck in the eighth and Rickard hit an opposite-field, two-out homer to right for a 7-4 lead. ...

"I am not in the projection business ... " [Aaron] Boone said. ... "The bottom line is we think we are going to be a really good team. ... [W]e plan on that starting [Monday] night."

That's when the Tigers, another team expected to take a beating this year, arrive in The Bronx for the first of three games against a team that can't play any worse than it did the past two games.

Joel Sherman, Post:
At the corner of Unacceptable and Intolerable, the Yankees lost a season-opening series to the Orioles.

Baseball is not supposed to provide automatic wins. ... Maybe a game can slip away. But a series? In The Bronx? Against a pitching staff that appeared allergic to throwing strikes? Against a lineup more anonymous than an "American Idol" casting call?

Baltimore lost 115 games last year and this roster makes that look like the good old days. The Yankees lost two of three more than the Orioles won, wasting the weekend in a wave of atrocious situational hitting after a spring training replete with pledges to amend all-or-nothing ways. ...

This first weekend was not kind to any AL superpower. The rotation of the defending champion Red Sox was miserable as the not-expected-to-be-very-good Mariners took three of four. The Astros dropped three of four to the Rays, who used these initial games to suggest they will be a run-prevention force again and, thus, a threat to the Red Sox and Yankees.

The expectation remains that the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros will top 95 wins this season.

Nevertheless, this was a disturbing weekend for the Yankees, culminated by a 7-5 loss Sunday. Many of their leaders had spoken during spring about establishing a ferocious tenor to carry them throughout the schedule. And Baltimore should have offered the equivalent of a layup line to ignite this Yankees schedule.

"Way too early to press the panic button ..." Brett Gardner said. ...

They faltered in every phase, but ineptitude at situational hitting resonated. ... Yankees hitters talked the talk of making themselves tougher outs up and down the lineup. They did not walk the walk this first weekend — which is why despite all the walks the Orioles pitchers authored (22 in three games), the Yankees still lost twice. ...

The Yanks were 10-for-56 with runners on base in the series, including 6-for-29 (.207) with men in scoring position. In the finale, the Yanks were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position with eight strikeouts — and whiffed 14 times in all.

Over the first eight innings of a game that was delayed three hours, 17 minutes from the start by rain, the Yankees managed one hit in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Aaron Judge singled in two runs in the fourth. But with the tying and go-ahead runs on base, Giancarlo Stanton followed by striking out on three pitches. And Judge struck out in his four other at-bats. Gary Sanchez ... was still the worst player in the game, striking out three times and committing a throwing error that led to a run for the second straight game.

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