Baltimore Orioles: It Doesn’t Have To Be Pretty To Count
It wasn’t pretty, but the Baltimore Orioles are in the win column after defeating the New York Yankees by a score of 5-3 on Saturday afternoon.
On a positive note, Nate Karns returned to the mound in a regular season game for the first time in nearly two years and tossed two shutout innings for the Baltimore Orioles. But his debut could have just as easily resulted in a disaster.
Digging himself out of an early hole, Nate Karns kept Saturday’s game from getting out of hand early, allowing the Baltimore Orioles to secure their first win of the 2019 season. It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win and Orioles’ fans should enjoy this W as much as possible.
Baltimore Orioles manufacture runs without the long ball to secure the win.
It took just one pitch for Karns to record his first out in a major league game since May 19, 2017, but the wheels quickly fell off as Karns would issue three-straight walks to Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luke Voit. A comebacker to the mound and a quick 1-2-3 double play limited the damage spared Karns from an unfortunate Orioles’ debut.
His successor, Jimmy Yacabnonis, also struggled to find the strike zone, walking two and throwing 59 pitches in his three innings of work, but like Karns, Yacabonis was saved with a little luck and a boost from his offense to exit the game in line for his first win of the season.
Baltimore hitters struggled to get anything going against James Paxton early on. Through the first five innings, the O’s lineup was 1-15 with five strikeouts and one walk. It took until the top of the sixth to see a little bit of life as Dwight Smith Jr.knocked in the first run of the game with his second hit of the afternoon.
With Richie Martin and Smith on base and one out in the sixth, we had our first real opportunity to see the aggressiveness Brandon Hyde said would continue as the regular season rolls along. A double steal attempt resulted in Gary Sanchez sending his throw into the outfield, allowing Richie Martin to score and giving the Orioles a 2-1 lead which they would not surrender for the rest of the afternoon.
Baltimore finished the day with nine hits, including three from catcher Jesus Sucre who drove in three, two of which coming with two outs in the ninth inning on a double.
Positive takeaways for the Baltimore Orioles.
The pitching staff was wild, extremely wild. Karns threw 33 pitches, just 15 for strikes. Yacabonis found the strike zone 32 times in 59 pitches, and Miguel Castro tossed just 23 strikes in 42 pitches. Those numbers aren’t positive, however, Yacabonis and Castro flashed very impressive stuff.
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The movement Yacabonis can generate with his two-seam fastball is mesmerizing and his slider can be a true wipeout pitch. Once he can find his command, Yacabonis just might make my pre-season prediction of an All-Star appearance happen.
As for Miguel Castro…wow. I’ve always been a big fan of Castro, but you never know where the ball is going to end up once it leaves his hand. That was the case often today, but with a fastball that topped out at 97.9 mph against the Yankees, he’s dangerous. When you add in his 90 mph changeup that fell off and left Brett Gardner swinging at air, you can’t help but get excited over Castro’s potential, once you get over the headache he normally causes without his command.
We can’t wrap up without mentioning the defense from Rio Ruiz at third base. Ruiz made multiple impressive plays, including a diving stop against the line to prevent extra bases and corraling a 111 mph rocket off the bat of Aaron Judge. Statcast had a 54% hit probability on the batted ball, but not with the glove of Ruiz standing there. He also has hits in both contests.
The Orioles wrapped up the afternoon with a big outing from Mychal Givens who struck out three and allowed just one hit, topping out at 97.6 mph. It was the 9th inning that got a little hairy. After a leadoff home run from Troy Tulowitzki and an RBI-single from Luke Voit, Mike Wright was able to shut the door and get the save on a strikeout of Miguel Andujar. It was ugly. But it was a win.
The series concludes on Sunday with the Baltimore Orioles sending Dylan Bundy to the mound to battle against J.A. Happ and the New York Yankees. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm.