At the corner of Unacceptable and Intolerable, the Yankees lost a season-opening series to the Orioles.
Baseball is not supposed to provide automatic wins. But the Orioles are as close to an NCAA Tournament 16th seed as this sport provides. Maybe a game can slip away. But a series? In The Bronx? Against a pitching staff that appeared allergic to throwing strikes? Against a lineup more anonymous than an “American Idol” casting call?
Baltimore lost 115 games last year and this roster makes that look like the good old days. The Yankees lost two of three more than the Orioles won, wasting the weekend in a wave of atrocious situational hitting after a spring training replete with pledges to amend all-or-nothing ways.
This moment of perspective is brought to you by the long season. The 1998 Yankees opened 0-3 and made history. The 2018 Yankees lethargically began 9-9 and won 100 times. This first weekend was not kind to any AL superpower. The rotation of the defending champion Red Sox was miserable as the not-expected-to-be-very-good Mariners took three of four. The Astros dropped three of four to the Rays, who used these initial games to suggest they will be a run-prevention force again and, thus, a threat to the Red Sox and Yankees.
The expectation remains that the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros will top 95 wins this season.
Nevertheless, this was a disturbing weekend for the Yankees, culminated by a 7-5 loss Sunday. Many of their leaders had spoken during spring about establishing a ferocious tenor to carry them throughout the schedule. And Baltimore should have offered the equivalent of a layup line to ignite this Yankees schedule.