Spring Game 9: NYY vs. TOR — Prospective hopes, walk-off loss #2

Okay, so apparently, when the Yankees lose games this Spring, they do it at away games by allowing the home team to do so in a walk-off. I’d say it’s gracious, but really, it’s just frustrating.

Luis Severino started for the Yankees this cool afternoon at the Blue Jays spring home, just across Tampa Bay. Severino’s lone problem inning was his first, allowing his lone walk to score as part of a big 2-run home run to get the Blue Jays on the board. But following that, no one would do much of anything for most of the game. Johnny Barbato took over for Severino in the middle of the 3rd, got out of a jam, and breezed his way through 6 outs, setting the pace for the rest of the game.

The rest of the pitching roster maintained that momentum, just waiting for the Yankees offense to do something. Anything really. Actually, in total, the Yankees and Blue Jays were pretty much paired off evenly. Both teams racked up 7 total hits, worked 2 walks, and nearly matched the same number of strikeouts (9 by Yankee pitchers, 7 by Toronto pitchers).

But the problem is always the runs. The Yankees didn’t cross the plate until the very last opportunity, the 9th inning. With 1 out, Castillo singled and Diaz doubled, getting runners in scoring position (and pinch-runner Wade in for Diaz). So infield rookie Ji-Man Choi singled home both runners to tie up the game and force a bottom of the 9th inning.

All those Canadian tourists must have been praying a little hard, especially as the Blue Jays were looking for only their second win this Spring, because the second batter smacked a really big solo home run for a celebratory walk-off win for the Blue Jays.

Final score: 3-2 Blue Jays

Some good news for the Yankees organization. MLBPipeline.com named the Yankees farm system the 2nd best farm system in MLB (just behind the Braves), and anyone who’s been watching the kids in the minor leagues for any length of time (even just this Spring) can vouch for that fact.

The system is packed with talent — Frazier, Kaprielian, Mateo, McKinney, Andujar, and Torres. And we’ve seen the results of the system make their debuts last year and impact the direction of the Yankees in incredible ways in the likes of Judge, Austin, and Sanchez, all three of whom are expected to be on the 25-man roster come Opening Day. (That list includes Austin, who is currently out nursing his broken foot, with hopes of returning in April.)

I remember talking to a friend a couple of years ago, towards the end of Spring Training that year. She was questioning if I thought the Yankees were going to do much that year. I admitted that they would compete hard like they always do, but I just didn’t see them as the championship team they needed to be champions come October (and they weren’t). But I told her to hang on a few seasons because the kids I was watching in Spring were just phenomenal. I’m not sure she really believed me then, but based on some recent online posts, I know she believes me now.

Sometimes, it’s hard to see any good when all you’re shown is the bad. But that’s why paying attention to Spring is so vital. You can see the future on display in all its glory. And I gotta tell you, the future is looks really good. And the future is happening sooner rather than later, folks. Hang on to your hats; this is going to be something to watch.

Go Yankees!

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