Keidel: Amidst Severe Flux, Yankees' Owning of Orioles Still a Constant

Jason Keidel
July 30, 2020 - 9:57 am

If you're a fan of the original Star Trek series, you may recall many episodes featured a few unknown officers in the opening scene, all in red shirts, who were sure to die before the first commercial break. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock would beam down to some strange planet with a "Lieutenant Bailey" and "Ensign Jones" - both of whom would be zapped into salt cubes or some such atrocity. 

So it is with the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles in the real world. Death. Taxes. And the Yankees vaporizing the Orioles. 

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Last year, the Yanks posted a surreal 17-2 mark against Baltimore, which included 16 wins in a row to end the season series. The Yankees were also an astonishing 10-0 at Camden Yards, a beautiful place that houses a forlorn franchise. So when the Bronx Bombers took the short trip from Philadelphia to Baltimore to play a game last night, it shocked no one to see the Yanks punk the O's once again. This time it was a 9-3 trouncing in the town where Babe Ruth was born.

The beating featured a slew of home runs, with bombs from DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks that sealed the Yankees' 17th straight win versus Baltimore. Judge belted the ball so hard it took 6.6 seconds to land in the left field seats. And Hicks blasted a ball to right field that seemed to soar out of the ballpark.

The fact that ace Gerrit Cole was the starting pitcher was almost incidental. Whitey Ford could return at age 91 and pitch five effective innings in this matchup. 

The Yanks were so worried about losing the game they shoved someone named Brooks Kriske to the mound in the ninth to close it. Kriske is such a star he wore No. 82 - the first Yankee ever to wear it. The Orioles won 47 games in 2018 and 54 in 2019, for a total of 101 victories. The Yankees won 103 last year alone. It's hard to imagine one MLB club being literally twice as good as another. But it's tough to convey the Yankees and Orioles any other way. 

Now, the Yanks are 3-1 and are controlling the cockpit despite all the early turbulence, all of it beyond their control. They are a bit behind their fellow clubs after skipping two games at the Phillies, whose ballpark may be an incubator for COVID-19. But these four games have given fans a taste of how volcanic their offense can be, perhaps even better than the one that blasted 306 homers last year. It's a small sample size, but still, the Yanks and Twins are the only AL teams with one loss. Plus the Bombers get to play - and likely win - at Camden Yards tonight, before going home to host the Red Sox. 

As the boys on Boomer & Gio mentioned this morning, it's hard to imagine the Yankees acting like idiots during this precarious time in our nation. You won't likely see Cole strolling into a strip club, or Judge acting the fool at a pool party, or any other players dashing to rooms, restaurants, or clubs dripping with coronavirus, and hauling it back to the team. These Yankees, beyond their staggering depth and ability, are also mature. There will be teams that treat their towns as their personal playground, and end up with truckers and bartenders on the roster for much of the season. Listen to any Yankees player after a game and you hear wisdom and low-key regularity, not a bunch of young, loud millionaires who haven't adjusted to their good fortune.

This season won't just test talent but also temerity. The teams with the most discipline, and the self-awareness to keep their focus and production on the field, will be the last ones standing in October. If these Yanks stay healthy, it's hard to imagine them not playing deep into autumn. 

Plus it never hurts to play the Orioles. In an oddity of baseball history, the Yankees were originally called the Baltimore Orioles, back in 1901. They may have moved to the Big Apple, but you could argue they still own a team in Charm City. 

Follow Jason Keidel on Twitter: @JasonKeidel

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