Spring Game 28: NYY vs. HOU — Eovaldi and some serious hitting

I was listening to the Astros radio broadcast for today’s game, and they mentioned an interesting fact about the Yankees’ starter Nathan Eovaldi today. Last year, when he was with the Marlins, he was ranked 2nd in the league as the winningest pitcher with the lowest run support. In other words, Eovaldi was always a great pitcher, but his teammates didn’t back up his outstanding outings with much in the way of scoring runs. I know they say if you don’t have pitching you don’t have anything, but anyone will tell you that you can have fabulous pitching, but without any scored runs, you lose. Every. Single. Time. Hence, Eovaldi’s 2014 statistic.

I’m guessing today’s game gave him some self-confidence that he continues to be a great pitcher, but with proper run-support, he can collect some well-deserved wins. And today, he got some serious run-support from his new pinstriped (or rather “away greys”) teammates.

Eovaldi threw 4.2 scoreless innings, only giving up 3 hits and no walks, striking out 5 Astros batters. Even the Astros’ broadcasters couldn’t help but talk about how great Eovaldi was today, and having seen him in action several times this Spring, I can’t say that I disagree. He is scheduled as the 4th starter in the rotation (following Tanaka, Pineda, and Sabathia, and before the yet-to-be-named 5th starter), and already with that rotation staying healthy, we could be looking at a pretty decent pitching staff this season. And if you don’t have pitching… well, you know…

Whitley came on to finish Eovaldi’s 5th inning with a strikeout of his own. Rogers threw the 6th and 2 outs in the 7th, gaining 2 strikeouts of his own. Still very scoreless, the Astros faced Shreve to close out the 7th and the entirety of the 8th, only gaining a walk.

But in the 9th against Ramirez, the Astros gained a moment of hope. After a quick 2 strike outs, a single and a double put runners in scoring position. But that was quickly tempered with a fly out to center field to end the inning and the game.

Now, remember what I said about run-support? It was certainly in abundance today in Kissimmee. It all started in the 3rd inning with Chase Headley’s 3rd home run of the season — this one a solid fly ball over the right field fence. Then in the 4th, Rodriguez led-off with a single, a fly out, Refsnyder walked (though they kept pronouncing his name “reeef-snidder”), another fly out, Slade Heathcott singled home Rodriguez, and then a wild pitch score Refsnyder (pronounced like it’s spelled — “ref-snyder” — it’s not that hard, people).

Despite being up 3-0 at the end of the 4th, it would be the 6th inning that would certainly seal the fate of the game. Drew (whose bat has been rather hot lately) led-off the inning with a double and then scored on Rob Refsnyder’s double. Flores and Galvez walked to load the bases, and there were 2 strikeouts. Then it’s Headley again to make an impact — this time a 2-RBI single. But it’s John Ryan Murphy to cap off the scoring with a fielding error.

And as far as pronunciations go for the Yankees, I won’t even begin to talk about how poor Eric Jagielo’s name was butchered after Jagielo came in as Headley’s pinch-runner and replacement at 3rd. For the record, it’s “jah-guy-low”, and all those pronunciations appear on every travel roster press sheet if people wanted to get it right.

Final score from Kissimmee: 7-0 Yankees.

And it was a rather pretty day in Florida, clear and warming (after yesterday’s cooler temperature, that is) and rather a great representation for Florida in late March.

Roster news: Jared Burton was back in camp today after re-signing with the Yankees to a minor league contract; Scott Baker was unconditionally released, though most talk had him hoping to re-sign like Burton within the next few days; Bryan Mitchell and Ramon Flores were optioned to AAA Scranton; Kyle Davies, Francisco Arcia, Cole Figueroa, Jonathan Galvez, Slade Heathcott, Jacob Lindgren, and Nick Rumbelow were all reassigned to minor league camp.

We’re almost down to the 40- and 25-man rosters. Which means it’s almost time for Opening Day! And I’m ready to go. But I have it pretty easy — I just have to show up and watch the game and then tell you all about it. I don’t have to perform before 50,000 people at an elite level.

Go Yankees!

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