September 14, 2017 -- The Orioles lose to the Yankees, 13-5. (Denise Sanders, Baltimore Sun video)
When asked about the Orioles' struggles at Yankee Stadium this season after another lopsided loss in the Bronx on Thursday night, manager Buck Showalter initially wore a perplexed look. But the 13-5 defeat to the Yankees in their series opener in New York was unquestionably just one of several ugly, outmatched games the Orioles have played there this year.
The Orioles have lost six of seven at Yankee Stadium this season by a combined score of 81-35.
Before fans could settle in their seats Thursday night, Orioles left-hander Wade Miley (8-13) had already been chased from the game. Even though Yankee Stadium's typical volume was subdued early because of a malfunction in the ballpark's sound system, it left the Orioles listening to only the crack of the Yankees' bats battering Miley for six runs in the bottom of the first inning.
"It happened real fast," Miley said. "I felt really good going in. I had a good bullpen session. I thought I made some pretty decent pitches. They just jumped all over me. I tried a few different pitches. Everything I threw up there they hammered."
Miley lasted just one-third of an inning, his shortest outing in 194 major league starts, pulled after six of the seven batters he faced came up with base hits.
The Orioles (72-75) have lost six games at Yankee Stadium this season by an average of 8.2 runs, with the Yankees scoring in double digits in five of those wins. That stretch includes a three-game sweep in June in which the Orioles were outscored 38-8.
"We're not pitching well," Showalter said almost matter of factly. "I mean, you go back through and it's been … we've gotten a lot of balls in places that we knew not to get them and we got them and you pay the price for it. You make the pitches that we're making against those guys, at this level, they're going to go a long way. I was watching the replays of where we are trying to go and where the ball went. Just not going to work up here."
The Orioles are still playing for an opportunity to play in a win-or-go-home American League wild-card game, and in all likelihood – as their postseason chances become more remote by the day – that game would involve a trip to Yankee Stadium. And there's no place they've played worse this season.
Miley's brief outing marked the fourth time in seven games in New York that the Orioles starters failed to get through four innings, and the second time a starter couldn't get through the second inning.
Miley was on the mound for the Orioles' only win at Yankee Stadium this year, posting one of the team's better starts there — a five-inning, two-run outing in a 7-4 extra-inning win on April 30.
He also had a 3.25 ERA in his eight starts coming into Thursday.
But on Thursday, he lasted just 19 pitches. The Yankees put their first three batters of the inning on base and scored their first run after just six pitches, when Gary Sánchez's double drove in Jacoby Ellsbury.
"You can't go out there and lay an egg like that," Miley said. "I've got to give us a chance and I didn't. It just hurts more, every game right now what we don't get in the win column hurts right now. A first-inning six spot doesn't help."
Miley's high walks total have been his bugaboo this season — his 84 walks entering Thursday were the most in the major leagues – and the Yankees didn't wait the veteran lefty out, jumping on him quickly and making contact with all seven pitches they swung at.
His four-seam fastball, which averages nearly 92 mph, reached 90 mph just twice through his first 11 fastballs. And once Todd Frazier hit a three-run homer over the center-field fence on a 3-1 92-mph fastball, Showalter quickly jumped out of the dugout to pull Miley in favor of right-hander Mike Wright.
"Just never got it going," Showalter said of Miley. "They jumped on him quick and just could never get in step. A little frustrating. He's been throwing the ball pretty good for us, but it wasn't enough tonight. We couldn't keep the ball in the park, period, with everybody."
Miley's six-run first inning wasn't the first time the Orioles fell behind big at Yankee Stadium. In their past three games at the Yankees, the Orioles have been outscored 17-0 in the opening frame.
Including Miley's start, Orioles starters have a combined 13.50 ERA at Yankee Stadium this season and have allowed 12 homers in 25 1/3 innings.
The Orioles have allowed more homers at Yankee Stadium this season than any opposing ballpark (26) — 17 more than anywhere else. For emphasis, Aaron Judge hit his 10th and 11th homers against the Orioles this season. He has no more than six against any other opponent.
In fact, Judge's 11 homers against the Orioles are the most by any player against any opponent this season and the most by any Yankees player against an opponent since 1961, when Roger Maris hit 13 against the Chicago White Sox and Mickey Mantle hit 11 against the Washington Senators.
In June, the Yankees' three-game sweep of the Orioles served as an indicator of how far apart the two teams were at the time. This series could be a reminder of that, and by the end, could be the knockout blow to all but mathematically end the Orioles' playoff hopes.