Spring Game 18: PHI vs. NYY — It was the Phillies who owned the night

There were fireworks after the game tonight, and with a couple of bright moments during the game, that was the best part of the evening. Of course, my mom (and my Spring Training game buddy) loves fireworks night, so even in spite of the loss to the visiting Phillies, she (and hundreds of other “kids”) watched the show displayed over the scoreboard with glee.

The evening was stuffy and heavy, with lingering clouds that never did amount to anything other than an oppressive atmosphere of humidity. That should’ve been a sign right there.

Esmil Rogers started tonight and struggled almost instantly. Actually, it set the pace for a rather rough outing for all but 2 of the pitchers tonight. Rogers threw 66 pitches over his 3.1 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 runs, and 1 walk, and striking out 3 batters. The runs came as an RBI single in the 1st, a solo home run in the 2nd, and an RBI single in the 3rd.

The next 2 relievers were really spectacular. David Carpenter (finished the 4th and 5th innings) and Tyler Webb (6th and 2 out in the 7th inning) kept the Phillies from any hits and any runs. Carpenter faltered a tad, allowing 2 baserunners on with walks, but was able to pitch his way out of trouble. Webb never put himself in any trouble, striking out 2 batters, something that impressed quite a bit of people tonight.

Now, going into the 7th inning, the game was tied 3-3 because the Yankees were able to poke very small holes in the tight Phillies outstanding offense. In the 2nd, Chase Headley shot a solid solo home run over the right field wall. In the 3rd, Heathcott on 1st after a messy start of the inning for the Phillies defense (a rarity in this game, believe me), Stephen Drew’s sweet double into the right field corner scored Heathcott. And in the 6th, with no outs and 2 runners on base with a single and walk, Carlos Beltran’s single into center field scored Noonan to tie up the game.

It was finally looking good for the Yankees. But it didn’t last long.

Reliever Nick Goody finished the 7th with a single and an out and came back on for the 8th only to give up a lead-off solo home run to break the tie. I should note that Goody actually did pretty well keeping the Phillies from adding any more, including 2 strikeouts.

And into the 9th inning, the Yankees turned to Chasen Shreve, a pitcher they seem quite a bit interested in, but unfortunately has seen better days this Spring. A lead-off single advances to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on a really nice double. The next batter hits a long fly ball out to center field that is mishandled and dropped in on the error scoring another run, as the batter makes it all the way to 3rd. That batter then scored on another single. A brief coaching visit to the mound refocused a rattled Shreve, as he quickly got those elusive 2 outs to end the inning.

The Yankees never scored past the 6th inning, so the final score was 7-3 Phillies.

And then they set off exploding rockets into the night sky.

Injury updates: Brendan Ryan, sidelined in late February with a back muscle strain, will start at shortstop in tomorrow’s away game against the Tigers, his Spring debut; Ryan injured himself prior to reporting for camp, attempting to get back into shape, but with lingering soreness, an MRI reveal the strain and forced the infielder to rest and heal. And Jacoby Ellsbury has been out this week due to a mild (this word has been stressed by practically everyone, by the way) oblique strain, but is fully expected to be ready by Opening Day; the conversation is that if he is okay by the end of this month, Opening Day is a definite, but if not, a new conversation is in order.

But I kind of like this approach. The way things appear now seem to follow this path, and as such, we’ll proceed with Plan A. But if something should (or shouldn’t) happen accordingly, we’ll make new plans when the time comes. I think it’s also a mix of hoping that things will work out great and trusting that if they don’t a new solution will present itself and become Plan B (or C or D or Y or Z, as the case may be). It reduces panic and hysteria and proceeds calmly into the unknown assured that there is a solution somewhere; it may not be the ideal, but it’s a solution nonetheless.

It’s a rather nice way to live life. And it’s a rather nice way to run a business or a team. And it reminds me of the pattern set nearly 2 decades ago by Joe Torre, who took everything in time and found the solution that worked for each scenario, even if it wasn’t ideal or perfect. And he got 4 championship teams (and a slew of baseball greats) out of it. Those “Keep Calm and…” signs have nothing on the placid tone set by the cool and collected Torre of the 90s dynasty.

Well then, Keep Calm and…

Go Yankees!

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