Spring Game 10: BOS vs. NYY — Rivals in the heat of Spring

Chris Capuano was looking rather sharp starting today’s game against the visiting Red Sox, getting a quick 2 outs. Things might have continued in this fashion, but Capuano’s put-out assist on that second out had him stepping off 1st base awkwardly and ended up limping around foul territory for a bit before heading into the dugout. Young pitcher Nick Rumbelow covered for Capuano, warming up quickly, before throwing 4 pitches to get the Yankees out of the inning. Capuano was diagnosed with strained right quadriceps and will be out a few weeks to rest and recuperate. An official number and date to return to baseball activities will be set after his MRI, which depending on the extent of the injury could affect the starting rotation Opening Week.

Dellin Betances threw a Betances-like 2nd inning, complete with 2 strikeouts, followed by Andrew Miller in the 3rd, whose lone errant pitch turned into a solo home run for the Red Sox.

The Yankees’ offense answered back at the bottom of the 3rd. Jose Pirela led off with a double, ending up on 3rd after a ground out and line out. Pirela then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single to tie up the game. Carlos Beltran’s single easily scored the speedy Ellsbury to put the Yankees up 2-1. It would be the last time the Yankees had the lead all afternoon.

Never a team to know when they’re defeated, the Red Sox came roaring back in the 4th to start a pattern that the Yankees just couldn’t overcome. Bryan Mitchell, on the mound in the 4th, struggled his way through the entire lineup. It would be two singles, a strikeout, an RBI single to tie up the game, a really nice double cleared the bases (4-2 Boston), a stolen base (3rd), an RBI single (5-2 Boston), and another single before a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild seemed to do the trick and settle Mitchell down and get those elusive 2 outs.

The Yankees took one of those runs back in the bottom of the 4th with a solid Alex Rodriguez home run over the left-centerfield wall. It is the first Yankee home run in Steinbrenner Field this Spring, and though the typical Boston crowd seemed heavy on the boos today, the cheers from the Yankees fans, especially on his jog around the bases, was quite enough to drown out the rivals fans in red.

Mitchell came back in the 5th inning and seemed more like the Mitchell we’ve seen before. Burton’s 6th inning kept the Red Sox to a 2-run lead, but the 7th inning came with some trouble. With Tyler Webb pitching and 1 out, a single and passed ball had a runner on 2nd; a strikeout gave the Yankees hope, but a single with runners on the corners caused some white knuckles and edge-of-seat action, especially as another great double from the Red Sox cleared the bases and pushed the score to 7-3 Boston.

The Yankees took yet another run back in the bottom of the inning. Mason Williams walked and ended up on 2nd on a wild pitch; standing there with 2 outs, Williams watched batter Jonathan Galvez reach 1st on a fielding error as he rounded the bases and scored.

But apparently a 3-run lead isn’t enough in a game that doesn’t matter to the Red Sox. In the 8th, with Chris Martin pitching less than stellar under today’s very hot sun, a 2-run home run, a ground-rule double, a throwing error, a fielding error, and a groundout (for the 1st out of the inning, by the way) scored 3 more Boston runs, putting the score at 10-4 Boston. Moreno, the Yankees’ 9th inning pitcher, made sure the score stayed as such, giving the Yankees a chance at a 9th inning rally.

It wasn’t quite a rally, but a decent effort, nonetheless. Figueroa on base with a single and 2 outs, it’s Slade Heathcott to shine and his a really great 2-run home run over the right field wall. It wasn’t enough to win, but it was a little bit better. 10-6 Boston

I look forward to Boston-New York games, and I especially like to attend them. You see split loyalties in families or groups, great novelty t-shirts (from both sides), good-natured jeering and cheering, and always a pretty good opposing team turnout. I’ve been to a lot of supposed rivalry games, but no body does it quite like Boston-New York. And it doesn’t matter if you’re at Fenway or in the Bronx or either stadium in Florida, the atmosphere is still a lot of fun. It’s heated, but all in good fun. It’s never nasty or bitter (at least in my experience). And even if your team loses, you still leave with a smile because you’ve had a good time, participating in one of the oldest and greatest rivalries in all of sports history. You can spend the whole afternoon firing trash talk and “facts” back and forth with someone sporting an Ortiz or Pedroia or Yastrzemski or Williams jersey, and then want to take them out to dinner (well, today, because the Yankees lost, so you buy).

You know, I say “heated”, but today was heated for an entirely different reason. Today was hotter than it should be for March, so even if you weren’t wearing Boston Red, your skin was probably almost there by the end of the 3 hour, 14 minute game. It’s the one time that the cheap seats are actually worth more than the closer seats as they are under the overhang and get shade almost instantly, at least along the 1st base side. But as the sun progressively moves across the sky, the shade grows over the closer seats so that by the end of the game, the only seats in the sun are the VIP seats. How’s that for irony? But really, at Steinbrenner, if you ever go, there are no bad seats — ’tis the beauty of Spring Training.

There’s a lot to love about Spring Training… but I think we could all do without 85 degree hot and humid days in early March. Oh, and losing to the Red Sox. That’s never really fun.

Go Yankees!

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