Orioles manager Brandon Hyde described pitcher Dan Straily this afternoon as someone on a mission. A veteran determined to reverse a string of short outings and limited production from the mound.
“I know that he wants to prove that he’s the guy we signed, where he was going to give us some innings and give us some major league starts,” Hyde said. “Hoping it starts tonight.”
It did not.
Straily walked two batters in the first inning without any real damage, but he surrendered two home runs in the second and solo shots in the third and fourth. The Yankees keep mashing and now threaten to sweep the Orioles in a four-game series.
If there’s a turnaround in Straily’s future, it won’t show up this week. He allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings and the Orioles lost again, 7-5 before an announced crowd of 17,849 at Camden Yards.
CC Sabathia was charged with five runs (four earned) in five innings, including Richie Martin’s first major league homer and Renato Núñez’s two-run shot in the fifth, but the Orioles dropped to 15-34 with their fifth loss in a row and their 12th in 14 games.
Orioles pitching has surrendered 105 home runs, including 34 to the Yankees. Gleyber Torres hit his 11th of the season, and ninth against Baltimore, leading off the top of the third inning to stretch New York’s lead to 5-0. Gary Sánchez almost put a fastball into the second deck with two outs in the fourth, his 440-foot shot - with an exit velocity of 111.4 mph - also giving him nine homers versus the Orioles.
Torres doesn’t like being tied. He led off the fifth with a home run off Gabriel Ynoa, the ball landing on the flag court in right field.
The latest tabulation shows Torres with 12 home runs, including 10 against the Orioles. All four of his multi-homer games in 2019 are against the Orioles.
According to STATS, Torres is the first player in major league history to have 10 of his first 12 home runs of a season come against the same team. According to MLB’s Andrew Simon, Torres is the first player to produce four multi-homer games against the Orioles in the same season. (The Philadelphia Athletics’ Gus Zernial did it in 1951 against the St. Louis Browns, who moved to Baltimore three years later.)
According to just about everyone, the Orioles should start walking this guy.
The Yankees sent nine batters to the plate in the second, squeezing 31 pitches out of Straily. Thairo Estrada and DJ LeMahieu hit two-run homers, and the inning included a double, two singles and a walk.
Brett Gardner doubled after Torres’ homer in the third to get Ynoa warming. Straily had thrown 75 pitches on the night before getting back to the dugout.
Straily’s night ended at 91 pitches and with his ERA increasing to 9.09 and his home run total to 14 in 34 2/3 innings. He hasn’t completed the fifth in his last five starts.
The first three home runs came on Straily’s slider, clocked at 82, 81 and 83 mph. The fastball was 89.6 mph. None were located as desired.
The first hit off Sabathia was Hanser Alberto’s run-scoring double with one out in the third inning. Alberto began the night 12-for-25 against the Yankees this season and slashing .442/.442/.628 against southpaws with 19 hits in 43 at-bats.
An unearned run in the fourth, with Núñez scoring on Torres’s throwing error, reduced the lead to 6-2.
The Orioles scored three runs in the fifth on the Martin and Núñez home runs, and they nearly got another on Joey Rickard’s single to center field after Pedro Severino doubled. Sánchez tagged out Severino, who never touched the plate, but Hyde argued that the collision rule had been violated. The call was upheld upon review and the Yankees led 7-5.
Branden Kline, the third reliever used in the seventh, struck out both batters faced to strand two in scoring position. He tagged on a scoreless eighth, but the Orioles stranded a runner in each of the last four innings.
They were out of runs.
They’d like to empty their supply of home run pitches.
Hyde on Straily’s struggles: “I just saw some of the highlights. Those balls were right down the middle. I don’t what to say, really. Four homers in four innings.”
Hyde on whether there’s a plan to pitch around Torres and Sánchez: “Well, there’s definitely a pitching plan. It’s definitely not to throw the ball in the middle part of the plate, and we just continue to do it. When you don’t do it, you get them out. Gleyber has two homers besides facing the Orioles, and hitting like .220 or something, so major league pitchers are pitching to him.
“Gleyber’s a good player. He did a really nice piece of hitting on Ynoa, taking that ball the other way. You tip your hat on something like that. But the other stuff, that’s inexcusable at this level.”
Hyde on not having any other options: “I think I said it last night, right? We lack starting pitching depth at the upper levels. We have some guys that are struggling here and we are going with what we have.”
Hyde on hitting Sabathia: “I take a lot out of the game. I loved the way our guys fought back. We were down four, five early and facing a guy who’s probably going to go into the Hall of Fame. Richie Martin hit his first home run. That’s a special moment. And I loved our at-bats.
“Second time through the order I thought we did a really nice job. Had the tying run to the plate the last three innings. I thought we battled. We battled tonight. So I can watch that. I liked that. We just got in a hole early and couldn’t get out of it.”
Hyde on whether he thought Sánchez was blocking plate as Severino came home: “I’ve seen a play very, very similar to that in the playoffs. It happened to us last year (with the Cubs) and the call was made the opposite way. So that’s what we were talking about.”
Hyde on Martin home run: “I thought, obviously, a great moment. First big league home run, that’s a special deal already, and you do it off somebody who’s had a lot of success for a lot of years, pretty cool. So we’re all happy for Richie. I thought everyone was pumped up for him.”
Hyde on whether he’s seen results of plan to pick spots for Martin: “Yeah. I thought he was on time better tonight. He got the single the next at-bat, fouled off some tough pitches with a guy throwing really hard. Wasn’t getting beat and he kind of muscled that ball through the middle of the field. I think that’s a great sign. So him being able to be on time with the fastball, a good fastball, that was awesome to see.”
Martin on what first home run meant to him: “It meant a lot, but it’s kind of disappointing. We came up a little short today. Get the first one out of the way feels good. It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t pull through at the end.”
Martin on what it means to hit it off Sabathia: “Nothing really. I mean, a home run’s a home run. It doesn’t really mean much to me.”
Martin on how it felt to circle the bases: “It just felt like any other home run, to be honest. I mean, I haven’t really hit many of them in the minors, so it just felt like a normal home run. It was cool to get the first one out of the way, but at the end of the day it was just a home run that didn’t really mean much.”
Martin on whether home run is product of work being done: “We’ve been working day in and day out and it’s nice to see a home run as a result, but you can get tied up into results and I don’t think that’s taking it day by day and trusting in the process.”
Straily on frustration level: “It’s frustrating, very frustrating. I feel like the whole thing comes down to a couple of hung sliders and that’s what’s really frustrating, is that’s been my pitch for years and years, being able to command it, being able to manipulate it. And it just wasn’t there. So I know the issue and I just need to correct it.
“That’s the frustrating thing about this whole thing. I probably executed more pitches tonight than I have in a while, maybe this whole season, executed more pitches, but the ones I didn’t execute we paid for. You just go out there and it’s an all-or-nothing team and you know that going in, and you just have to execute your pitches and you’re fine, and I wasn’t able to execute enough of them.”
Straily on whether it’s especially frustrating because he’s on new team: “Yeah, the pride side of being a starting pitcher is you want to go as deep as you can in each ballgame, giving your team a chance. I know I haven’t been doing it. These last four outings have been very frustrating, very hard to deal with. But I only know how to do one thing, and that’s keep working, keep my head down and keep working. I’ll do that until the day I walk away from this game. I’ll never stop working.”
Straily on Torres at-bat: “It was like the fourth or fifth pitch of the at-bat, right? It was fastballs everything before that. I thought for sure he wouldn’t be on it. The slider was up a little bit and he was on it. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. I’m trying to bounce that pitch and I leave it over the plate. That’s not what we’re trying to do. It’s unacceptable to not be able to make that adjustment pitch-to-pitch as we’re expected to do up there.”