Spring Game 8: NYY vs. NYM — Tied with some prospect power

Port St. Lucie is a sleepy little beach town between Melbourne and West Palm Beach on the Atlantic coast of Florida. Except in March, when the Mets and their fans invade to show support for the runners-up of last year’s World Series. Some familiar names graced the Mets roster today as they hosted their natural rivals — our Yankees for an afternoon game.

And surprisingly, the Yankees were rather dominant for the first half of the game, thanks in part to the stellar pitching of Ivan Nova. Nova threw the first 3 innings, giving up just 3 hits and a walk, and getting a single strikeout, but no runs thanks to his defense and pitching pushing his batters into swinging at lesser balls for easy outs.

Prospect James Kaprielian took over in relief of Nova in the 4th and threw into the 5th inning. It would be that 5th inning that would cause the young pitcher some trouble. With 1 out and 2 runners on base with a walk and a single, a solid double scored both runners, giving the Mets the lead. A single put runners on the corners before the next batter induced a rather sloppy play — a ground out got the out at first, but a catching error at home allowed the run to score and other runner move to 2nd. Which meant that another single allowed yet another run for the Mets. After another runner got on base with a walk, the Yankees turned to Nick Goody to close out this messy inning and get the young prospect pitcher out of trouble (which he did successfully through the 6th inning).

Barbato, Pinder, Montgomery, and Lindgren finished off the game for the Yankees’ bullpen, with an inning a piece, and kept the Mets from adding to their lead. In total, the Yankees’ pitchers gave up 10 hits and 6 walks and somehow managed to only allow 4 runs. To be fair, the Yankees certainly had their share of defensive greatness including 2 beautiful double plays in the 1st inning and a perfect one in the 8th to get out of a loaded bases jam.

The Mets certainly had a bit sharper pitching in some respects — no walks allowed to any Yankee batters (though the rest of the stats were about the same). The Yankees got an early slim lead in the 3rd inning with Hicks’ 2-out double and then Chase Headley’s RBI single.

Then behind 4-1 in the 7th, the Yankees weren’t about to give up easily. Chris Parmelee led off the inning with a double and ended up at 3rd with 2 outs. A wild pitch allowed him to easily score and half the Mets’ lead. But it would be the 9th inning that made all the difference with 2 solo home runs hit by young prospects to tie up the game — Kyle Higashioka and Sebastian Valle. By the way, that inning would go: out, home run, out, home run, out.

And as the Mets couldn’t put together anything in the bottom of the 9th, it pushed the game into the 10th. And as it is Spring, the game thus ended when neither team seemed able to get a runner to cross the plate and break the tie.

Hence, the first tie of the Spring for the Yankees.

Final score: 4-4 / in 10, Yankees-Mets tie.

I got to give this “one to watch” to Higashioka. The young catcher certainly has caught my eye before at other games, but today, he proved why the Yankees still consider him a prospect with his just monster home run so far out of the Mets’ Spring home that it hit the sidewalk around the field. His teammates wanted to watch his home run shot on replay; that’s how impressed and proud they were of him. And I don’t blame them. It was so ridiculously impressive. (Though to be fair, Valle’s home run was pretty impressive too.)

Go Yankees!

{Media note: I cannot tell you how happy I am to share media links with you again! And on such a good game… enjoy!}



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