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Breaking: Yankees acquire LHP James Paxton in exchange for LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Erik Swanson, and OF Dom Thompson-Williams

The Yankees have made their first splash of the offseason by acquiring the Big Maple, James Paxton, from the Seattle Mariners. Fresh off his second-consecutive season at the top of the Mariner’s rotation, Paxton did not come cheap as the Yankees traded away their top prospect, Justus Sheffield, along with breakout prospects Erik Swanson and Dominic Thompson-Williams.

Yankees continue to play down to their competition; O’s walk it off in the ninth

The Yankees dropped yet another game to the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night, 6-5. The returning Masahiro Tanaka faced-off against Andrew Cashner. Tanaka made his first start since June 8th when he strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases against the Mets. This matchup came with an interesting statistic: for pitchers with at least 10 starts, Tanaka ranked second in the MLB in run support (13 starts; 6.54 runs per game), while Cashner ranked dead last (17 starts; 2.59 runs per game). The game began as a pitcher’s duel, with no scoring through the first three innings. In fact, Cashner was perfect through the first four. The first runs came with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning. After Mark Trumbo struck out and Jonathan Schoop flied out to left field, Chris Davis singled, Trey Mancini walked and Joey Rickard hit a two-run double down the left field line. 

Credit: NY Post
The Yankees finally showed some life in the top of the fifth. After Giancarlo Stanton popped out to the catcher for the thirteenth straight out, Didi Gregorious laced an opposite field single for the Bombers’ first base runner. Next, Miguel Andujar caught a break when Rickard laid out for a pop up down the right field line, but could not come up with the ball; Andujar ended up with a walk. Greg Bird came to the plate and with the count 2-2, Bird unleashed a bomb to right field to give the Yanks a 3-2 lead. The Orioles answered in the bottom of the fifth when Manny Machado jumped on the first pitch from Tanaka and crushed a solo home run to left, tying the game 3-3. Since the start of 2017, Tanaka has given up 52 home runs and that is tied for first in the MLB. Tanaka got Mark Trumbo to line out to short and that was all for Tanaka as manager Aaron Boone wanted to keep him around 80 pitches. Jonathan Holder came in relief to get the next two outs. 

The top of the sixth saw a one-out single from Aaron Judge go to waste as Aaron Hicks lined out to first for the unassisted double play. Chad Green came in for the bottom of the sixth and retired the O’s in order. The Yanks regained the lead in the top of the seventh: Gregorious had a one-out double that got past the dive of centerfielder Adam Jones. Then, Andujar roped a single to left, resulting in Cashner exiting the game with runners on the corners. Miguel Castro came in for relief and gave up a Sac-Fly to Bird, giving the Yanks a 4-3 lead. After Austin Romine walked, Neil Walker banged a single to right-center field, making the score 5-3.  

Credit: NY Daily News

The Orioles tied the game 5-5 in the bottom half of the seventh inning after Machado hit his second home run of the game, this time a two-run opposite field shot off of Green. The ball just went over the outstretched glove of Judge, and was originally declared to be in-play by the umpire. Upon review, it was ruled a home run. Machado has been a Yankee-killer since he has entered the league and since 2015, he leads all players with 20 regular-season home runs against the Yanks.  

Mychal Givens came in for Baltimore in the top of the eight and pitched a scoreless inning, while David Robertson matched him in the bottom half of the inning. Orioles closer Zach Britton entered for the top of the ninth and gave up a leadoff single to Didi. Later in the inning, Didi would be thrown out at second after running on a pitch in the dirt. Upon review, he clearly appeared to be safe, but the call ended up staying intact. The replay system is beyond frustrating since so many calls continue to be wrong even with review.  

Dellin Betances came in for the bottom of the ninth and hit Caleb Joseph to lead off the inning. After getting Tim Beckham to fly out to Judge, Jones snuck a double down the right field line. Machado would be intentionally walked and the O’s had bases loaded with one out. Betances would go on to strike out Mark Trumbo. However, with two outs, Schoop would hit a hot shot off the glove of Bird, giving the Orioles the walk-off 6-5 win.  

The Orioles, who are the worst team in baseball, now have a winning record against the Yankees. For a team that has pummeled the class of the MLB, the Yanks can’t get out of their own way against these inferior teams. This Yankees team is a roller coaster ride like no other, winning games in heroic fashion against baseball’s best and then losing heart-wrenching games against baseball’s doormats. It is unfathomable how this keeps happening and now the Yankees find themselves 3.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox. As good as they have played this year, the Yankees need to step it up in a big way.  

What’s Next? 
The Yankees look to split the four-game set with the Orioles tomorrow night at Camden Yards. The utterly dreadful Sonny Gray (5-7, 5.85 ERA) will go up against Dylan Bundy (6-8, 4.08 ERA). Yankees fans are no strangers to Gray’s pitiful 2018, especially his recent struggles. He is 0-3 in his last three starts, and gave up eleven runs in only four and a third innings pitched in his last two starts against the Red Sox and Blue Jays. Gray needs to get his confidence back and the Yankees need him to start giving quality outings every fifth day to keep pace with the Red Sox.   

Recap by: John Keefe

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