The transition from Spring to Regular Season always begins when Spring rosters begin to shrink, as players that will start the year (and probably stay there all season) in the minor leagues are sent to become familiar with the minor league teams in minor league camp. Before the game, they reassigned Garrison, Goody, Graterol, Pazos, Moreno, Severino, and Webb. Following the game, they were joined by Jake Cave, Cito Culver, and Aaron Judge.
Starter Nathan Eovaldi threw 4 seriously great innings for the Yankees in today’s game against the visiting Phillies, giving up just 2 hits and striking out 3 batters. I wasn’t as familiar with Eovaldi before he was signed this offseason, so I was a little curious to see how he fared in pinstripes. But with his fastball sitting regularly around 96-98 mph (you could hear the snap of catcher McCann’s glove echo through the stadium each time) and a deceptively slow slider. He threw a total of 45 pitches, 38 were strikes.
Chase Whitley came on in relief in the 5th inning for his 2 inning outing today and put up a pretty good case for that 5th starter’s job, if not long-term relief in the bullpen. No Phillies ever made it on base and 2 of them struck out.
David Carpenter’s 7th inning was rather rocky, starting with a lead-off walk who advanced to 2nd on a steal and then to 3rd on a wild pitch, before scoring on a single. Carpenter came back for one batter in the 8th, but after giving up another single (he would be responsible for this batter), the ball was turned over to Justin Wilson.
Wilson promptly hit the batter (on the foot in a low inside ball) and gave up a wild pitch that advanced the runners. I should note that the Yankees catcher Murphy was up and ready to throw, but the young infielders were out of position and unprepared to cover their bases to get an out — a rarity, though not out of the realm for the more inexperienced fielders, a disappointment nonetheless. A groundout scored the runner from 3rd. It would be the last run the Phillies would score as Wilking Rodriguez’s 9th inning was rather flawless with a quick 3 outs to end the game.
On the offense side, the Yankees struck early. Jacoby Ellsbury’s lead-off standing triple easily put him in line to score on Brian McCann’s sacrifice fly. The Yankees maintained that 1-0 lead until the 7th inning, when the Phillies tied them up.
That didn’t last long as the Yankees came back in the bottom of the 7th with Chase Headley’s lead-off solo home run over the right-center field wall. 2 walks and 2 fly outs later, Slade Heathcott’s single caused some rather interesting chaos — while the 3 Yankee runners round the bases and the Phillies scramble for the ball deep in center field, Bird (the lead runner) scored just before Culver (the next runner) was tagged out on his way to 3rd. So the run counted, and the inning was over.
That extra run proved necessary when the Phillies scored that extra run in the 8th, but the Yankees shut them down and came out on top at the end of the 2 hour, 22 minute game. Final score: 3-2 Yankees
Also, on Friday, former Yankees President Al Rosen passed away at the age of 91. The Hall of Famer played for the Cleveland Indians in the ’50s, and considered one of the greatest hitters in that era, he earned the MVP in 1953. Post-baseball, he took a brief break from the game to be a stockbroker until coming back to baseball to work under fellow Ohioan George Steinbrenner as President and CEO of the Yankees through some of their more volatile years (1978-79, “The Bronx Zoo”). He moved on to work with the Astros in the same position and then as FM of the Giants, winning NL Executive of the Year in 1987. He is the only MVP in history to win the top executive award. A part of Yankees’ storied history, gone but not forgotten.