Ubaldo Jiminez gave up four runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings and Yankee's starter Hiroki Kuroda shut down the Orioles offense through 6 1/3 innings as the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees scored single runs in the 3rd inning when Derek Jeter grounded into a double-play, in the 4th inning when Yangervis Solarte singled, and in the 5th inning on a Jacoby Ellsbury single. The home team added a run when Zach Britton came on in relief of Ubaldo Jiminez and promptly walked Kelly Johnson with the bases loaded. Despite the walk, Britton ended up with another solid outing for the birds and has become one of the bright spots on this team through the first week of the season.
The Orioles lone runs came in the 4th inning when a sharp single by Matt Wieters plated Adam Jones, and in the 7th inning when Nelson Cruz dropped a single in front of left fielder Brett Gardner. Ryan Flaherty followed with a groundout to second baseman Brian Roberts, which put Wieters and Cruz in scoring position for Jonathan Schoop who grounded out to kill the rally. Yankee relievers Thornton, Phelps, Warren, and Kelley kept the Orioles hitless in the final 2 2/3 innings to seal the victory. The loss dropped Baltimore to 2-5 on the season and the Yankees improved to 4-3.
At this point in the season, the Orioles pitching is struggling but is giving the team a decent opportunity to win games. Three or four runs should not be insurmountable for a team that has a lineup of this caliber. Certainly, the ongoing injury to Manny Machado is having an impact on the team. Ryan Flaherty is a solid defensive player, but right now he cannot get the bat on the ball. Jonathan Schoop is having a difficult time adjusting to the skill and intensity of a major league baseball game. Despite all the accolades heaped on Schoop in the past couple of years, he is showing his immaturity. This became clear today when he fell asleep and got picked off at second base, and in the seventh inning when he had a golden opportunity to tie the game with runners on 2nd and 3rd with two down but tapped a weak grounder to the pitcher.
Ubaldo Jiminez has not shut down opponents thus far into the young season (he is 0-2 with a 6.75 earned run average), but he has kept the opposition within reach of what has been touted as one of the league's best offensive teams in the Orioles. While there have been some bright spots in the offensive production this year (such as Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, and Nelson Cruz) the offense overall has been inconsistent and lackluster. Steve Lombardozzi, Ryan Flaherty, and David Lough have been nonexistent at the plate this year, and if one third of your lineup cannot hit the ball out of the infield then keeping pace with the likes of Boston, New York, Tampa Bay, and Toronto will be a challenge.
The final two games of the series will feature the match-ups of Wei-Yin Chen vs. Ivan Nova at 1:05 p.m. on Tuesday and Miguel Gonzalez vs. Masahiro Tanaka in the final match on Wednesday evening. After an off day on Thursday, the Orioles will come home to face the Toronto Blue Jays for three games followed by a three-game series at home versus the Tampa Bay Rays. The schedule does not get any easier for the Orioles who then fly to Boston to face the Red Sox in a four-game series.
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