This was the series that was the most talked about all Spring Training. It wasn’t the fact that the Yankees were going to face the new Miami Marlins in an exhibition game. It was the fact that the exhibition game took place at the brand new Marlins Park in Miami which included state of the art scoreboards, a retractable roof, a fish tank (with bulletproof glass) behind home plate, a night club and a swimming pool where fans could leisurely watch and enjoy the game. Still, there was baseball to be played, which the Yankees did in the beginning of the 2 game set vs. the Marlins.
CC Sabathia went 4 innings giving up 3 runs on 4 base hits, Mariano Rivera broke his 28 inning scoreless streak (which dated back to 2008) by giving up 1 run on 2 hits, Rafael Soriano gave up 1 run on 3 hits, Cory Wade gave up 3 runs on 2 hits, George Kontos had a scoreless inning and a third while giving up 1 hit and Juan Cedeno faced 2 batters in the 9th inning without giving up a run and securing the save.
THE GOOD: Aside from the Marlins Ballpark (which is gorgeous, but not as historic as Yankee Stadium) the Yankees came to play in Miami. Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher each had 2 hits apiece while Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Raul Ibanez, Russell Martin & Brett Gardner all had 1 hit apiece. Nick Swisher returned to the lineup after battling a sore groin and came back in style, hitting a HR in the 6th inning which extended the Yankees lead.
THE BAD: Mark Teixeira was 0 for 3 today and the Yankees pitchers (aside from George Kontos & Juan Cedeno) didn’t look sharp today. Maybe it was the fact that they were in a new ballpark. I’ll give Mariano Rivera the benefit of the doubt since this was the first time in a long time that he has traveled with the team during Spring Training.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Yankees stay in Miami for one more game and play against the Miami Marlins. The game (I’m sure of it this time) is at 7:05pm on MLB Network.
David Phelps was scheduled to make the start for the Yankees tonight, but Mother Nature had other plans. Phelp’s wife was giving birth which prompted Phelps to back out of his start. Adam Warren was squeezed in to make the emergency start and Warren did not disappoint whatsoever as he was able to shut down the Red Sox in his 4 innings of work.
The last time the Yankees and Red Sox met up with one another, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees 1-0. This time, the ending was completely different. The Yankees & Red Sox ended up in a tie after Joe Girardi called it off after 9 innings. For comedic relief, Bobby Valentine wanted to keep going and tire out the Yankees. Oh Bobby…it’s Spring Training. Let it go.
Warren only allowed 2 hits and no runs in his 4 innings of work while looking effectively sharp against the Red Sox everyday hitters. Dellin Betances pitched 3 innings without giving up any runs, but his Achilles heel tonight was walk. Betances gave up 4 walks in 3 innings. Cory Wade struggled in the 8th inning. ending the shutout by allowing 3 runs to the Red Sox. Juan Cedeno came in after Wade was only able to go 0.2 of an inning, getting the final batter in the 8th. George Kontos came in during the 9th but allowed the tying run for the Red Sox to score which resulted in the Yankees tie.
THE GOOD: Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner & Andruw Jones all had a hit in tonight’s game (Granderson a RBI triple, Gardner a hard clean single & Jones had a single). CC Sabathia started today vs. Double-A in an attempt to hide his pitches from the Red Sox. Sabathia allowed 1 run on 5 hits, gave up a walk and had 4 strikeouts. Girardi didn’t see Sabathia’s outing and joined Gardner & Granderson in Ft. Meyers but he jokingly said that this Sabathia kid has a shot of making the rotation. You know what Joe? I’ll go a step further. I say this Sabathia kid will be an ace.
THE BAD: Raul Ibanez went hit-less again, his average in the Spring being a dismal .054. Is it too late to try to persuade Jorge Posada to come out of retirement? Cory Wade also did not look sharp, allowing 3 runs in the Red Sox 8th inning and not being able to finish the inning. There were also some base blunders today as both Eric Chavez & Andruw Jones were picked off by Red Sox starter Aaron Cook. Guys, leave the stolen base attempts to Gardner & Granderson, okay?
WHAT’S NEXT: Tomorrow is a Split Squad game which means 2 games at once. Here is also some exciting news. Mason Williams will play in Tampa vs. the Twins while Yankees first round 2011 prospect Dante Bichette Jr. will head to Clearwater and join the other half of the Yankees for the game vs. the Phillies. The game vs. the Twins will broadcast on YES & MLB.TV while the game @ the Phillies will be only on MLB.TV.
For the first three innings the story revolved around Michael Pineda. He was scheduled to have a 75-80 pitch count which should have lasted about 5 innings. He needed 30+ to get out of the 1st inning. Pineda had fastball control issues, getting into multiple full counts before allowing a 2 run HR to Andrew McCutchen. The Yankees were able to back Pineda up and prevented him from getting the loss.
Mariano Rivera (2-0) came in and pitched for the Yankees in the 4th with another dazzling inning, Boone Logan was able to get out of a small jam by getting the double play (and ended the 5th Inning with Joe Girardi segment), Cory Wade allowed 1 run, Juan Cedeno had a scoreless inning, George Kontos had a scoreless inning & Branden Pinder had a scoreless 9th to seal the Yankees 9th Spring Training win of the season.
THE GOOD: Curtis Granderson made it on base all 4 times (2 hits, 2 walks), Russell Martin showed that a groin injury wasn’t going to stop him & Brett Gardner had a bunt base hit today, and if you didn’t see it boy it was a beauty. Also today, Andy Pettitte threw a 50 pitch bullpen session today and impressed everyone who was there, including pitching coach Larry Rotschild. Pettitte set his return to the Major Leagues to May 1, so pitchers in the rotation…beware.
THE BAD: Nick Swisher had to come out of the game after aggravating his right groin. Girardi said that Swisher will have 4-5 days off before coming into another game. Derek Jeter is not scheduled to play until Friday.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Yankees will take a trip to Pt. Charlotte where they will face the Tampa Bay Rays. The game is at 1:05pm on ESPN & MLB Network. Phil Hughes (who has been impressive all season) will make the start.
Sure Michael Pineda gave up 2 runs. What pitcher doesn’t give up 2 runs and makes mistakes. Besides of the 2 runs, Michael Pineda looked sharp as the Yankees defeated the Nationals 8-5 in the first game of a 2 game set. The Yankees were facing their former teammate Chien-Ming Wang who looked sharp until a Russell Martin collison at 1st forced him to leave the game with a left hamstring injury.
Pineda’s line was pretty good. He went 3.2 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 base hits while striking out 4. Clay Rapada is making his case to be the second lefty in the bullpen by going 1.1 innings and giving up only 2 walks. Juan Cedeno went 0.2 innings while giving up 1 run on 1, Brett Marshall went 2.2 innings giving up 2 runs on 2 base hits while striking out 3. Michael O’Connor pitched 0.2 innings giving up 1 hit and Adam Warren ended the Nationals threat by getting out the only batter he faced.
The Good: Bill Hall made his case for a spot on the 25 man roster today, having 2 base hits and driving in 2 runs.Russell Martin also had a base hit for the Yankees. He came out of the Chien-Ming Wang collision unscathed so that was also good news.
The Bad: Brett Gardner had a very tough game, striking out all three times he was at the plate. I know this is Spring Training, but his performance is beginning to worry me (along with Robinson Cano‘s who didn’t play today.)
WHAT’S NEXT: The Nationals will travel down to Tampa and face the Yankees on their turf this time. CC Sabathia is slated to start for the Yankees.
Hiroki Kuroda wanted to capitalize from his last outing in which he did, pitching 3 scoreless innings in a Yankees 4-3 loss to the Houston Astros. Kuroda did have command issues in the first and third innings of the ball game; in the first the Astros hit the ball hard against him, but luckily was able to get the double play. In the 3rd, Kuroda allowed the bases to be loaded but got out of it on a strike out. But in the end, Kuroda pitched 3 innings without giving up any runs.
Rafael Soriano had a shaky outing, giving up 1 run and not being able to finish the inning, Juan Cedeno gave up a hit but didn’t give up any runs, Cesar Cabral gave up a run on 3 hits, Dellin Betances had a good two innings, giving up no runs on 1 hit and Michael O’Connor gave up 2 runs and was charged with the loss.
After coming off a rough start in his last outing, Freddy Garcia was able to blank the Braves in his 3 innings of work as the Yankees were able to shut out the Braves 3-0. Garcia who is in competition for the 5th spot with Phil Hughes was able to spot his pitches and got a lot of hitters on lazy fly balls. Rafael Soriano, Manny Banuelos, D.J Mitchell, Juan Cedeno & Kevin Whelan were also able to blank the split squad Braves. The other half of the Braves lost to the New York Mets today at Disney.
Derek Jeter had an infield single in the first and scored on a Nick Swisher opposite field double. Jeter then walked again in the 5th and scored on a Sacrifice Fly by Robinson Cano. The final run came on a Melky Mesa RBI which scored Doug Bernier.
A lot of the news was surrounded by David Robertson who hurt his foot after tripping over a step in his Tampa residence on Wednesday. Tests came back during the game and revealed that Robertson had a bone bruise, which eased concern among the Yankees. David Robertson will take off the walking boot on Monday & start getting ready to get back to baseball form next week.
WHAT’S NEXT: Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira & Alex Rodriguez are going to Disney World! Okay…they aren’t really going to Disney World but they will lead the Yankees to Disney Park where the Yankees will play the Atlanta Braves for the second day in a row. Michael Pineda is slated to pitch.
More on tonight’s Spring Training report.