Tap-In Question: Which team is better heading down the stretch: Orioles or Yankees? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Tap-In Question: Which team is better heading down the stretch: Orioles or Yankees?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

I’m assuming you are back to work today. Which means, of course, you have time to come to the Tap Room, grab a seat and opine. Gotta love workdays.

It’s “Yankees Week” here in Balmer — with the Bronx Bombers in town through Wednesday — and it’s a series that means something in September. That never gets old.

With the Orioles (70-68) losing Monday afternoon, they are now 4 ½ games behind the Yankees (74-63) in the American League Wild Card race (and in the AL East standings) with 24 to play.

In their season series so far, the Orioles are 5-8 against the Yankees with six remaining this season – seven if they end up as the two Wild Card teams.

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To be honest, heading into April, I thought the Orioles would be the better team. I thought the Yankees might be more talented as an organization, but I figured they were still a year or two away from putting it all together. Whereas I thought the window on the Orioles was closing, and they would get at least another playoff run out of this group of guys.

I was wrong – so far, anyway. The Yankees, with their combination of youth and veterans, have been better than the Orioles, whose maddening inconsistency – especially involving the rotation – has tempered expectations.

Plus, the Yankees fortified their roster in July by adding, among others, Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Sonny Gray, who faces Kevin Gausman in an intriguing matchup Wednesday. The Orioles, meanwhile, added two under-the-radar acquisitions in Jeremy Hellickson and Tim Beckham; the latter has provided a tremendous but unexpected boost for this club.

The Orioles started off hot this year then tanked while the Yankees have been the more consistent squad. Now they have similar records, though the Orioles have been playing better recently (not including Monday, of course). The Orioles are 28-22 in the second half while the Yankees are 29-22; The Orioles are 19-14 since the beginning of August; the Yankees are 17-16 in that span.

Really, these two clubs look fairly even to me. The Orioles have a slightly better offense; the Yankees, statistically anyway, have much better pitching. If pushed, I guess I give the Yankees and pitching the edge. But it’s close.

Now, it’s your turn. Which team is better?

This isn’t April. This isn’t July. This isn’t 2018. Right now, in September, I want to know which team you think is better: The Orioles or the Yankees. And tell me why.

If you can, put away the orange-colored shot glasses and try to answer this one as objectively as possible.

Tap-In Question: Which team is better right now: Orioles or Yankees?

35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Osfan73

    September 5, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Pains me to say but believe the Yankees have the edge over the Os . Why? IMO, team pitching- Yankees team era more than a full run better @ 4.82 Os vs 3.76 NY. Then there’s the run diff. Os are being outscored so far this year…. 672 runs scored and 698 runs against. NY-711 runs scored and 571 runs against-difficult to win consistently let alone just win when your being outscored. Some of that goes back to the Os pitching, some to the lineup’s periodic disappearances.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      Those would be the two biggest concerns with this team. No doubt

  2. bigdaddydk

    September 5, 2017 at 8:24 am

    It pains me to say this, but the Yankees are in a better position down the stretch. Reason for that is simple: starting pitching. Offensively, the O’s can hang with anyone when firing on all 8 cylinders, but we don’t have the reliable starting pitching. Unless pitchers perform well above what their peripherals say they are, then we can’t hang with the Yankees. That’s not to say it can’t happen. Obviously, we’ve given the Yankees some good games this year. They had one more win in the season series than us before yesterday’s game. In baseball, anything can happen, and it occasionally does. The games are played on the field and not on paper, but on paper the Yankees are better set for the stretch.

    Now, once MLB finally gets around to handling suspensions from the melee with the Tigers, at least for the Yankees they chose to suspend (yeah, Betances, I’m looking at you) that could change things slightly. I don’t see it being a big swing though, and it more represents a temporary hiccup.

    • Bancells Moustache

      September 5, 2017 at 9:09 am

      It still shocks me that Betances came out of that unscathed. So punching a guy and potentially hurting him merits a suspension, but throwing a hardened spheroid at a guys temple and potentially killing him does not?

      • bigdaddydk

        September 5, 2017 at 9:55 am

        Especially after a warning was already issued and a bean ball war was well underway. That should have been automatic. That was not, like with Gausman against Boston earlier in the year, a breaking pitch that got away. That was a 98MPH heater to the head. Baseball has to get serious about curtailing that kind of behavior before we have another Ray Chapman. It’s, quite frankly, amazing that in the entire history of MLB nobody else has died as a result of an injury sustained playing baseball.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      Big Daddy: I’ve said several times that this macho dance isn’t going to end until something incredibly serious occurs to one of the players. The issue needs to be addressed firmly. Here’s one thought: You leave the bullpen during a possible melee, you are automatically suspended. And not replaceable. Period. I get the dugouts emptying, I suppose, because the offense doesn’t want one or two players against a field of the opposition. The bullpen thing is just stupid. Stupid. Drink chip BD.

      • bigdaddydk

        September 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm

        I like the idea about leaving the pen being automatic suspension. I also agree that the dugouts emptying is more understandable with a potential 5-9 on 1 situation. I’m still amazed that in the midst of a bean ball war Betances got nothing after the ejection. It really makes one wonder if the conspiracy theories on Joe Torre having been a Yankees manager and light sentences to Yankees players has anything to it. I’d like to think that he’d be impartial, having been, after all a player and manager elsewhere too. I’m not normally one to go in seriously on such things, but I wonder at times.

  3. Orial

    September 5, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Unfortunately the Yankees. Yesterday’s game defining the differences. Plate discipline being the key,hard throwers versus finesse,no major difference in speed or defense. The fear of Judge versus the fear of well…
    nobody(Manny,Schoop don’t intimidate). Again unfortunately the Yankees.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      I was with ya until “the don’t intimidate” thing. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

  4. Creatively_19

    September 5, 2017 at 9:00 am

    The teams are honestly pretty even, but it seems like the Yankees have the advantage when it comes to the rotation. Also, Orioles pitching never plays too well when the Yankees decide to be patient hitters, as was the case yesterday. Its a bad combination when our pitchers can’t throw strikes and the Yankees don’t swing freely at pitches out of the strike zone. Hopefully the O’s can turn it around and win the next 2.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      There really was a difference in patience Monday. No doubt.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    September 5, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Glancing down at the respective rosters, I fail to see the names Jimenez, Ubaldo and Tillman, Chris listed in the starting pitchers column for the Yankees. That settles that.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      That would be a glaring difference.

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 5, 2017 at 9:42 am

    I agree with everybody aboves keen analysis. Well done boys. But to simplify things …

    You are what your record says you are!

    What bunk…..of coursh the Oriolesh are the shuperior team. hic°

    Go Os!!!!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 1:28 pm

      For a second I thought the tide was changing. Phew. Don’t scare us like that Boog.

  7. Os_Skins

    September 5, 2017 at 9:59 am

    The advantage goes to the Yanks.

    I don’t even think it necessarily lies in pitching, but rather, offensive approach. While the Os have been mashing recently, the last few days the flaws in their approach has been very evident, and yesterday it was really on display. Despite a good offensive August, the Orioles seem to be reverting back to an all or nothing approach at the plate, and lack situational awareness. They have gone horribly cold with RISP and every at bat the goal seems to be a home run. I know that, to an extent, that is who this team is, but let’s take the 8th inning yesterday. First two reach on walks. The next three strike out – Schoop swung at ball four, Jones swung at multiple balls and Mancini grounded out. With the 1-2 batters in the order reaching and no outs, you need to get more out of that inning, but all too often the Orioles will start an inning getting the leadoff guy and maybe another guy on and then the next three guys press too hard and strike out or top the ball into a DP.

    Meanwhile, yes the Yanks hit a couple of homers yesterday, but they had extended at bats. They did what the Orioles often can’t, which is make the pitcher come to them. Fight off tough pitches or lay off balls and force the opposing pitcher to have long innings. Even in the innings the Orioles threatened yesterday, they still didn’t push Montgomery’s pitch count.

    So based on the contrast of styles at the plate, Yanks have the advantage.

    The Yankees rely a fair amount on home runs, but don’t

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm

      Solid analysis. Drink chip

      • bigdaddydk

        September 5, 2017 at 2:34 pm

        Extended ABs by opposing hitters have driven me nuts this year. How many times have we seen a hitter foul off four or five pitches only to get a hit or draw a walk. And it’s not just that he’s getting on base. Even when he gets out, he’s elevated the pitch count and made the pitcher work harder. Doesn’t seem like it happens with our guys with the same regularity.

  8. Bancells Moustache

    September 5, 2017 at 10:28 am

    On a related note, I’d like to hear the BB faithful’s opinion on why the Orioles don’t plug Miguel Castro into the rotation right now. I’ve heard the stuff about not wanting to stretch him out, but what’s the big deal? He’s 24, so it’s not like if he goes out for a 4th inning he will drop dead. Plus, if you can find me a long reliever who wouldn’t jump at the chance to be a starter, I’ll show you a guy who probably isn’t going to last in professional baseball. We are well past the point of Tillman righting the ship. In June you give Tillman time to work through his issues. In September you shake his hand and say “see you in Sarasota next February”. It just seems foolish to trot out bad starters and tax your bullpen when you have a guy who looks like solid option just sitting out in the ‘Pen, and who seems to end up pitching multiple innings anyway. Thoughts?

    • Os_Skins

      September 5, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Bancells – I’m with you on this one. I’m tired of hearing that Castro is doing really well in his current role, and that if you removed him from that it would create a weakness. Mainly because if he was started instead of Tillman or Ubaldo, then there may not be the need for his services. At this point, I actually think that if they are sticking with that 6 man rotation for the sake of Bundy’s arm, they need to put Castro and probably Ynoa in the rotation, and just hide Tillman and Ubaldo in the bullpen, never to be seen again.

      They need to go on another 5+ game winning streak and with the current rotation it is hard. It also puts a lot of pressure on Gausman and Bundy to be the stoppers and to come through. We think of it as fans, but there isn’t one among us who didn’t panic a little yesterday when Bundy clearly didn’t have it.

      New Rotation:
      Bundy
      Hellickson
      Gausman
      Castro
      Miley
      Ynoa

      A Pen:
      O’Day
      Givens
      Brach
      Britton

      B Pen:
      Bleier (he can go long and has good splits…)
      Hart
      Jimmy Y
      (Is Wright back yet?)

      Game out of Reach in Either Direction Pen:
      Rodriguez
      Ubaldo
      Tillman

    • Creatively_19

      September 5, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      I don’t have a good reason why not, other than Tillman is the one getting paid $10 million this season to start, so he’s the one that needs to eat those innings…. Castro should begin next spring as a starter, no questions about it.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      This kid has been jerked around a lot in his career role-wise and I think giving him some stability makes sense. I could endorse the switch now — certainly for 2018 — but there are a host of guys creating the need for a quality long man. Not just Jimenez/Tillman. Short outings have been in abundance. So I understand why they’d be hesitant.

  9. OsFanStuckInNY

    September 5, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Pitching.
    Yankees win.
    Crap!!!

  10. GSISDANNO

    September 5, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Sorry to say but the Yankees are a better team than the Orioles. It has been that way since that nightmarish loss back at the end of April at Yankee Stadium. Ever since, the Yankees have played their best against the O’s. Yesterday was a real disappointment. A 3-0 lead with our best pitcher on the mound and we lost. The Orioles’ offense disappeared against the Yankees. Since the seven-game winning streak, the Orioles are 2-3 and both of the wins came in extra innings. The next two games are crucial. The Orioles have to find a way to win both of them because a tough weekend in Cleveland lies ahead.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 5, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      A lot of offenses are going to disappear against that bullpen.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      True.

  11. Ezrine Tire Award

    September 5, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    If we’re forced to start Ubaldo again the Yankees have the edge. If not I really think we can catch them straight up.. IMHO it’s time to give Castro a shot. Can’t hurt.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      If you use Castro as a starter, then you need to have someone who can do that job. Maybe Asher.

      • Ezrine Tire Award

        September 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm

        On the pregame broadcast last night Gary Thorne said they were moving to a five-man rotation and Ubaldo was only pitching out of the bullpen until season’s end. When Duquette leaves I’d be happy to step in.

  12. garyintheloo

    September 5, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    There are actually about twelve teams better than the Os including the Yankees. The view from the Loo sees too many starters that can’t finish off batters with two strikes, station-to-station base running which eliminates “second base” as a scoring position and, if you are going to rely on homers, don’t do it solo as Keith Obermann would say if you were scoring at home or even by yourself. BTW, I would give Castro a couple of starts. see what he would do the second or third time through the order and skip Tillman, Ubaldo, etc.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 5, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Definitely a thought.

  13. Churchton

    September 5, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Yankees

  14. Craig417

    September 7, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Been a Oriole fan since 1954 and this is one of the most frustrating years to watch the birds. I won’t say that the O’s don’t have a chance but you can not expect any team to go to the playoffs with rotation that can not throw strikes. No matter how good their hitting is the pitching is worst. How can you expect to go to the post season when your pitching gives up more runs then the offense scores. The effect of a poor starting pitching is a scenario where you are constantly trying to dig out of a hole that was dug so deep by your pitching that you can not se the light of day.

  15. Craig417

    September 7, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Just watched Chris Davis strike out for the zillenth time with two men on base and two outs. He struck out again here is a guy that’s being payed 20 million a year and so far he has 55 RBi’s and 22 HR’s. You don’t make it to the playoffs with this kind of performance. Should have let him go when we had the chance.

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