By now, many are familiar with the story of David versus Goliath. It is the defining tale of the smaller, weaker opponent defeating the bigger and stronger adversary. As a society, we love to root for the underdogs, or the “Davids,” especially when it comes to sports.
Nineteen times this season, one of baseball’s “Davids” aimed to take down Goliath. A team that is over 40 games below .500 versus another who is 40 above.
However, this year, Goliath has won against David. Time and time and time again.
After winning 6-5 on Wednesday, the New York Yankees (81-41) finished off their 19-game regular-season series against the Baltimore Orioles (39-82) with 16 straight victories and a 17-2 record overall. Those two losses against the O’s came on March 30 and 31 in the opening series of the season.
It wasn’t just victories for the Yankees, but rather sheer and utter domination. In those 19 games, New York hit .303 as a team and averaged just under eight runs per game. They also hit a record 61 home runs against Baltimore, obliterating the previous record for home runs hit against a single opponent in a season.
Since teams began playing 19 intradivision games in 2001, the Yankees’ 17-2 record is tied for the best against an opponent. The 2013 Indians, 2013 Rangers, and 2006 Athletics all went 17-2 against the White Sox, Astros, and Mariners, respectively.
Not only that, but the Bronx Bombers outscored Baltimore by 68 runs in those 19 games, the biggest differential they’ve had as a franchise since 1956. And if that wasn’t enough, New York finished with 151 runs, the second-most for one team against an opponent in the divisional era (1969). The only team to do better was back in 2017, when the Yankees scored 154 runs — against the Orioles.
It should come as no surprise that a few Yankees put up remarkable numbers against the Orioles, with one player standing out. Shortstop Gleyber Torres hit 13 home runs in 18 games against the Orioles this season, with an MLB-record five multi-homer games against them. That means half of Torres’ 26 home runs and over a quarter of his 69 RBI this season have come against Baltimore.
Catcher Gary Sanchez homered on Wednesday in the final game between the Yanks and Orioles this season. It was his 10th in 14 games against Baltimore, joining Torres as the second pair of teammates with at least 10 home runs against one team in a season (Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig each hit 11 homers against the Red Sox in 1927).
There were other players in the pinstripes who raked against the last-place Orioles. After Kyle Higashioka and Gio Urshela each homered twice in a 14-2 victory on Aug. 7, it made it 11 Yankees who had homered at least twice in a game against Baltimore. And yes, that is another record.
Wednesday’s game was the last matchup between the Yankees and Orioles this season. The final battle between a triumphant Goliath and a decimated David. Maybe next year, David will put up more of a fight and be an underdog who stands a chance.