If you’d have told us that both the Yankees’ and Orioles’ starting pitchers would have been pulled in the sixth inning last night, we’d have liked the Yankees’ chances. Not that their bullpen — or at least, their lesser middle relievers — have been particularly impressive this year, but Baltimore’s bullpen has been a mess all season. At the very least, the Yankees know who their closer is from day to day.
But for one day, at least, the Yankees’ relievers were worse. Phil Hughes pitched well enough (two hits and one run over five-and-two-thirds innings), but he walked four and left the game with a 2–1 lead having thrown 109 pitches. The Orioles rally began almost immediately: Boone Logan walked Luke Scott — read an analysis of the decision to bring in Logan here — and was replaced by David Robertson, who hit Ty Wiggington before allowing three straight singles. Baltimore would add an unearned run off Alfredo Aceves in the eighth to extend their lead to 5–2, and though Baltimore’s bullpen tried their best to give the lead back in the ninth, Alfredo Simon got Alex Rodriguez to ground out with the tying run on third to record his first career save.
That makes four Yankee losses in their last five — an almost inevitable comedown after their hot start. Though if you’re concerned about the middle relief, take note that Chan Ho Park isn’t healing as quickly as they’d hoped — which is good news for Boone Logan, but bad news in general.