Offensive drought, defensive lapses, and bad umpiring stun Yankees

Harrison Bader expresses frustration with helmet slam in Yankees' loss to the Orioles on May 25, 2023.

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Despite a solid performance from Clarke Schmidt on the mound, the Yankees’ offense struggled to find its rhythm, managing only three hits in a disappointing 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Adding to their frustrations, home plate umpire Edwin Moscoso’s inconsistent strike zone decisions adversely affected the Yankees’ game plan. Additionally, defensive errors compounded their difficulties and contributed to their overall struggles throughout the matchup.

The Yankees’ involvement near home plate on Thursday was primarily limited to the brief moments when Aaron Boone passionately disputed his ejection during the third inning. For the remainder of the evening, Boone’s hitters experienced a void, as if they were caught in the gravitational pull of a black hole.

The Yankees’ offense turned silent

With a feeble offensive performance, the Yankees scraped together a mere three hits and narrowly evaded a shutout before finally scoring in the ninth inning. However, their late surge came too late to salvage the game, ultimately spoiling a strong start by Clarke Schmidt. As a result, the Yankees lost 3-1 to the Orioles.

The Yankees’ top-of-the-order faced significant struggles, as the combined efforts of Torres, Aaron Judge, Rizzo, and Harrison Bader in the first four spots resulted in a meager 1-for-14 performance with just two walks. The sole hit came from Torres, who went 1-for-4. Notably, Torres now holds the record for the most hits against any team in his career, with a total of 85 hits in 75 games against the Orioles.

In the final moments of the game, the Yankees managed to score their only run with two outs in the ninth inning. Willie Calhoun, who already had a double earlier in the game, delivered his second hit to drive in Judge from second base. Judge had walked to lead off the inning. With the tying run at the plate, Anthony Volpe stepped up but unfortunately flew out to center field. Volpe ended the game with an 0-for-4 performance, including a strikeout.

The Yankees’ lackluster offensive display resulted in a defeat in the decisive game against their division rival the Orioles, hampering the momentum they had built during their successful road trip in the previous week.

Yankees bullpen squandered a good start

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AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Clarke Schmidt was impressive in his first start since the sticky-stuff incident last Friday in Cincinnati. He threw 97 pitches, tied for the most in a season, and allowed just one run over five innings.

By containing an Orioles lineup that had previously found success against pitchers like Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes in the series, Schmidt extended his impressive streak of allowing two runs or fewer in four out of his last five starts.

Following their struggles in Wednesday’s game where they allowed five runs, the Yankees bullpen failed to rebound in this matchup. Nick Ramirez took the mound in the sixth inning but struggled, partly due to an error he committed during the game. Jimmy Cordero, who was part of the troublesome seventh inning in the previous game, managed to escape a difficult situation with runners on first and third and only one out by inducing a groundout from Ryan McKenna, resulting in a 6-6-3 double play.

In the seventh inning, Cordero committed a fielding error, but Wandy Peralta quickly made amends by inducing a 6-6-3 double play from Adley Rutschman, eliminating any potential damage. However, Peralta’s command began to falter, prompting Clay Holmes to enter the game. Unfortunately, Holmes surrendered a two-run double to Hays, a hit that nearly cleared the right-field wall, extending the Orioles’ lead to 3-0.

Bad umpiring shocked Yankees

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The Yankees were incensed with home plate umpire Edwin Moscoso during the initial three innings of Thursday’s game, as he made an alarming number of incorrect calls, all of which favored Clarke Schmidt with called balls.

The Yankees were less than pleased when their brief resurgence in the seventh inning concluded with a double play, despite it seeming like Oswaldo Cabrera had beaten the throw to first base. Video evidence seemed to support the Yankees’ belief, but their challenge to the play was not overturned upon review.

Amidst a scoreless game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone was thrown out of the game prior to the beginning of the bottom of the third inning. His ejection came after an outburst directed at Moscoso due to the umpire calling balls on Schmidt’s pitches that were indicated as strikes on K-Zone’s strike zone. Throughout the Orioles’ first three turns at bat, Schmidt had eight pitches located precisely on the edge of the plate, but they were called balls. On the other hand, Gibson, the Orioles’ pitcher, had two similar pitches in the first two innings, both of which were wrongly called strikes.

Boone vehemently expressed his frustration toward the plate umpire by raising four fingers on both hands while shouting. Even when first base umpire and crew chief Chris Guccione intervened, the Yankees manager persisted in his tirade for a few more minutes, occasionally re-engaging with Moscoso.

Boone stated that he didn’t feel his actions warranted being ejected considering what he perceived as significant issues occurring. According to the Yankees manager, there was no justification for his dismissal, and he expressed frustration towards Moscoso’s dismissive attitude, which contributed to his upset reaction.

Costly errors by Yankees

Anthony Volpe is seen during Yankees vs. Orioles game on May 24, 2023.

Two defensive errors were committed by the Yankees, both involving dropped throws by relief pitchers while covering first base on ground balls hit to Rizzo. The individuals responsible were Nick Ramirez in the sixth inning and Jimmy Cordero in the seventh inning. Fortunately, these errors did not result in any runs being scored by the opposing team.

Volpe mishandled a ground ball hit toward the middle of the field, creating a defensive misplay. Following that, Schmidt walked the subsequent two batters, putting himself in a challenging situation. However, he managed to navigate through the inning without surrendering any runs, despite requiring 29 pitches to accomplish that.

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