BALTIMORE—Oriole fans are probably wondering why their favorite team’s pitchers insist on pitching to Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez. Torres has 12 home runs, 10 against the Orioles, while Sanchez has 15, nine against Baltimore.
Again, home runs were the difference in the Orioles’ 7-5 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
The loss was the Orioles’ fifth straight, the first time this year they’ve lost that many, and their record is 15-34.
Dan Straily has failed to complete five innings in his last five starts. In four innings, he allowed four home runs — two-run home runs by Thairo Estrada and DJ LaMehieu and solo shots by Torres and Sanchez.
“Those balls were right down the middle,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I don’t know what to say, really. Four homers in four innings.”
Hyde says his pitchers aren’t following instructions.
“There’s definitely a pitching plan,” Hyde said. “It’s definitely not to throw the ball in the middle part of the plate. We just continue to do it. When you don’t do it, you get them out.
“Gleyber has two homers besides facing the Orioles, hitting .220 or something. Major league pitchers are pitching to him. Gleyber’s a good player. He did a really nice piece on [Gabriel] 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.”
In 34 2/3 innings with the Orioles, Straily has allowed 14 home runs and has an ERA of 9.09.
“It’s frustrating, very frustrating,” Straily said. “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. It just wasn’t there. I know the issue, and I just need to correct it.”
Entering the game, Torres had just one at-bat against Straily, who struck him out in his first at-bat in the second inning. Then, came the first three pitches of the second at-bat, and then the fourth, which Straily would love to have back.
“It was fastballs everything before that,” Straily said. “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 make that adjustment, pitch-to-pitch as we’re expected to up there.”
Ynoa gave up Torres second home run in the fifth, which gave the Yankees a 7-2 lead.
CC Sabathia, in his 19th and final year in baseball, huffed and puffed through five innings to earn his 249th career win. He’s won 21 of them against the Orioles.
Sabathia barely made it out of the fifth inning. He allowed Richie Martin’s first major league home run and a two-run homer to Renato Nunez. Pedro Severino doubled, and he tried to score on Joey Rickard’s single, but was thrown out at the plate on a perfect throw by centerfielder Brett Gardner, who was playing shallow.
Hyde complained that not only was Severino safe, but Sanchez blocked the plate. Both rulings were confirmed, and Sabathia survived with that tenuous 7-5 lead.
The Orioles had just four baserunners in the last four innings against Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman, and none got past first.
Orioles like Broxton: Hyde saw a lot of outfielder Keon Broxton, who was acquired on Wednesday from the New York Mets, when he was coaching in Chicago and Broxton played for Milwaukee.
“He’s a really athletic guy,” Hyde said “His tools are off the charts. He can really go get it in center field. I’ve seen him make numerous great plays against the team I was with … He’s got some serious raw power and he can really, really run.”
Hyde thinks Broxton will play often, and he expects that Stevie Wilkerson, who has played creditably in center recently, will continue to get chances.
“I’ve been impressed. I think we’ve all been impressed,” Hyde said. “It’s not easy to play a position you’ve never played before in the big leagues. Not only that, but center field, a middle of the field position. He’s done a great job.”
Jonathan Villar, who played with Broxton with the Brewers, was glad to find out that they’d be reunited.
“I love that guy,” Villar said. “He’s played well in the outfield. He’s a happy guy in the dugout … He’s a good teammate.
“We need him in the outfield. We have one infielder playing center field. He can play center field. I think he can help us.”
Cobb to the 60: Starting pitcher Alex Cobb went on the 10-day injured list on April 26 because of a back injury. With the Orioles acquiring Broxton and minor league right-hander Chandler Shephard on waivers from the Cubs, room had to be made on the 40-man roster, and Cobb was moved to the 60-day IL.
“I just don’t think we know,” Hyde said about Cobb’s return. “We’re still waiting to see how he’s responding, seeing how he feels off the mound. He’s just playing catch. Can’t put a timetable … Don’t know if there are going to be setbacks or what’s going to happen. Right now, he wasn’t going to come back before those 60 days.”
Cobb will be eligible to return on June 26.
“Give him the opportunity to get right and go through a full rehab and go from there,” Hyde said. “Obviously, I’d love to have Alex Cobb here, so we’ll see when he gets here. I have no idea.”