These were the games the Yankees were never supposed to lose — bullpen games in which their army of power arms would overwhelm the opponent. And, yet, in two contests this weekend that went deep into extra innings at the Stadium, they fell both times to the Orioles.
But in each instance, it was hard to fault the super-powered bullpen. First-year manager Aaron Boone sure wasn’t, pointing out that Friday night the unit threw nine scoreless frames before Jonathan Holder allowed a 14th-inning grand slam to Pedro Alvarez. On Sunday, Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson and Chasen Shreve each threw a scoreless inning before Adam Warren was touched up for a run in the 12th.
“I feel like they’re in a good place going forward now,” Boone said after the 8-7 loss to the Orioles in 12 innings. “When you go deep into those extra-inning games, especially at home, you figure you’re going to score a run. You can’t hold them down forever.”
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More than anything, Friday night’s defeat hurt the Yankees on Sunday. Boone wanted to stay away from Shreve, Robertson, and Warren — the latter two having pitched on Friday and Saturday — so he let recent call-up Domingo German start the seventh after allowing a run in the sixth.
He was touched up for a go-ahead two-run shot by Anthony Santander on a 3-0 pitch. Once the game went into extra innings, Boone went to the arms he was trying to protect.
“I think for the most part we like our chances when we’re out there,” Betances said. “We just got to continue to go out and make pitches.”
Betances threw three scoreless innings during the series, Chapman two, Robertson 2 ²/₃ , and Chad Green rebounded from Thursday’s poor performance to pitch a scoreless inning Friday night. Boone stayed away from Tommy Kahnle the last two games after he threw 48 pitches over two scoreless innings Friday. These outings have encouraged Boone after a somewhat shaky start from the group that was supposed to be one of the team’s big strengths after dominating last year.
“I think in a way they have started to get it going, frankly,” the Yankees’ manager said. “I feel like they’re in a good place.As long as we can continue to keep them fresh and rested as best we can, I feel good about it.”