The Orioles didn't make it easy, but the Yankees managed to hang on to defeat their division rival 10-8 at Yankee Stadium on Friday night. >> Box score
1) The Yankees jumped out to a quick start in the bottom of the first thanks to Didi Gregorius' 27th homer of the year -- a two-run moonshot to right field. Then, in the fourth, they would pile on four more runs, with Aaron Hicks' two-run homer the biggest blast.
2) As stated before, the Orioles began to rack up runs as well, but the Yankees always answered. When the score got to 6-4 in the seventh, Andrew McCutchen and Luke Voit added RBI hits to push the lead to 9-4. The O's would eventually make it a one-run game after a four-run eighth inning, but Aaron Judge's RBI double gave them the insurance they needed to close it.
3) CC Sabathia went a strong six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks. He also had five strikeouts. After the game, Sabathia noted that he will be back for another season with the Yanks.
4) The bullpen was a little shaky tonight. Jonathan Loaisiga allowed two runs on two hits with one being a homer. He only lasted a third of an inning. A.J. Cole lasted the same after his three-run outing that had a homer mixed in as well. And when David Robertson came in to stop the damage in the eighth, his first pitch was taken deep to right field as well.
As the Yankees are measuring who will make the wild card game roster, they also need to make sure they will win the games. Tonight, the offense made sure some major blips in the bullpen would not squander away the game. It shouldn't have gotten that far.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone tried to get by using the farthest depths of the bullpen to give the backend relievers a break, but all that did was force them into the game anyway. With the Yankees nursing a slim lead for the top wild card spot, even four and five-run leads should be considered high-leverage situations from this point on.
The Yankees have enough quality arms in the bullpen that Loaisiga (a rookie) and Cole (a re-tread pitcher that should have been dumped months ago) should not be pitching unless it is a mammoth lead or deficit in the eighth or ninth inning, or until they've clinched the top wild card spot.
Once that position is secure, then it will be time to rest.
Highlights from tonight's game
The Yankees continue their series with the O's on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. It will be Lance Lynn facing off against David Hess.