NEW YORK -- “Obviously, he's killed us all year. We are supposed to be making better pitches to him or not let him beat us, and we continue to throw the ball in the middle of the plate.”
You know a player’s having a pretty good season when the opposing manager -- in this case Baltimore's Brandon Hyde -- has that to say after the game. But it wasn’t just the three home runs Gleyber Torres hit across the two games of the Yankees' doubleheader sweep Monday at Yankee Stadium, including two in New York's 11-8 victory in the second contest. It’s the 13 homers he’s hit against the Orioles this year -- out of 26 total.
“It’s fun, especially when the guy’s on your team,” Cameron Maybin said.
Maybin, of course, has a slightly different perspective on those home runs than Hyde does.
There are a lot of stats surrounding what Torres has done so far this season, both against the Orioles and overall. To recap the most notable of those:
• The 13 homers vs. the Orioles this season are the most by a player against a single opponent in the divisional era (since 1969).
• The 13 homers vs. the Orioles are tied for the second most by a player against a single opponent in a season in MLB history (record is Lou Gehrig's 14 vs. Cleveland in 1936).
• Torres is the first player since Roger Maris in 1961 vs. the White Sox -- his record-setting season -- with 13 homers against a single opponent in a season.
• Torres’ five multihomer games vs. the Orioles are the most by a player in a season against a single opponent.
• With 50 career homers, he’s the third-youngest Yankees player to reach that mark.
• Torres is the youngest player in American League history to reach 8 career multihomer games.
• The second-year player has surpassed his rookie-year homer total of 24.
• Torres is the first player since Mike Schmidt (1983 vs. the Expos) to homer in both games of a doubleheader twice against the same team in the same season. Torres also homered in both games of a twin bill vs. the Orioles on May 15.
It’s easy to forget that Torres is recently removed from a core muscle injury that kept him out of four games last week. Monday’s games were his second and third back from that injury, which did not require an injured-list stint.
“Obviously, missing a couple days there with the injury, and then getting him back in Toronto, I thought he had a couple at-bats over there on that last day that kind of just missed,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And then really clips the first [homer] in the day game and then two really good ones [at night], and being three-run homers, [we] needed it. So great day for Gleyber and hopefully really getting him back into the flow.”
He certainly seemed to be in the flow on Monday.
“Every time I go to home plate, I have the same plan, and I take all the opportunities that gives me, and I just do damage,” Torres said. “The most important [part] of every home run is I just helped my team.”
And remember, Torres and the Yankees still have two games left against the Orioles this season.
The one thing missing from the day? Perhaps a third home run in the second game -- and fourth overall on the day. Torres strode to the plate with two runners on and third base empty in the eighth inning with two outs, and the Orioles chose to intentionally walk him, drawing boos from the crowd.
“Well, we're not supposed to pitch to him anyways -- or be careful with him,” Hyde said when asked about the intentional walk. “And instead of being careful with him, we're throwing the ball in the middle. So I just didn't want to see it anymore.”
Torres said he was a little surprised but not disappointed, and he was glad to take the walk.
“It was a little unorthodox, but it worked in that scenario,” Boone said.
But even without that final at-bat, the numbers Torres has racked up against the Orioles have been record breaking, notable and plentiful.
“He's obviously a very talented player, and he's gonna kill mistakes,” Hyde said. “When we were facing him at home, we did a better job pitching to him, and today we just did not. He's just a really talented guy obviously. He's got a ton of tools and a bright future. We're making him look like a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
Torres is still 22 years old, and the Hall of Fame won’t be calling any time soon. But he finds himself among Hall of Famers daily in the names he passes on various lists as he continues to set records.