I feel like the Yankees got a little lucky today. Not that the score reflected that. Actually, the score looked like the Yankees did really well, and they did. But they also got away with some messy pitching too. Sometimes, it’s about who your opponent is, and today, it was the Phillies.
With Luis Cessa unable to make his start due to a lingering fever, Chad Green got a spot start in today’s game in Clearwater against the Phillies. Green threw his 2 scoreless innings, though he allowed 2 hits and 3 walks, something that would become a pattern for the rest of the pitching staff. Holder kept that going with a 1-hit scoreless 3rd inning. Adams had a bit more of a struggle in the 4th inning, giving up 2 walks and a single to load the bases, but getting out of the inning without a run scored thanks to his 3 very good strikeouts.
With another allowed walk in the 5th, the Yankees went to Niese who just plowed through his 3 batters. Sheffield added more drama to the game in his 2 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 walks, meanwhile adding 3 more strikeouts of his own. Marsh’s 2 innings each gave up a hit, but kept the scoreboard floating zeros for the Phillies. Yes, the Yankees pitching staff may have accumulated 10 strikeouts, but they also allowed 17 base runners in their 9 allowed hits and 8 walks. The Phillies just never capitalized on those opportunities.
The Yankees, however, took their offensive opportunities when they presented themselves. In the 1st inning, with 2 quick outs, Bird singled and Holliday walked before Chase Headley hit his first homer of the Spring, a big 3-run home run over the right field fence to get the Yankees on the board and in the lead early.
So, while the Yankees clearly shut-out the Phillies, it wasn’t really that clean of a game for them. That pesky pitching problem reared its ugly head, and things resolved themselves in the Yankees favor this afternoon. Like I said, the outcome today really felt more like luck than it should.
Final score: 5-0 Yankees.
In World Baseball Classic news: last night, Cuba edged out Australia 4-3, and Japan dominated China 7-1 early this morning, so that both winners of Pool B qualified to face Israel and the Netherlands in the next round in Tokyo beginning tomorrow night (10 pm EST).
In this hemisphere last night, the Dominican Republic beat Team Canada 9-2 and Italy’s 5-run 9th inning eked out a victory for them over Mexico. Tonight, Team USA makes their WBC debut against Columbia and Venezuela faces Puerto Rico. Tomorrow is full of baseball, with 4 big games in Pools C and D (Miami and Jalisco).
Last weekend, Clint Frazier’s hair made the New York Times. Yes, those “lush locks” made a news story due to it being borderline on the Yankees long-standing clean-cut standards. “Clint Frazier’s hair is spectacular. It is red. It is curly. It is voluminous.” Well, there is no more story. Frazier was the first customer in the Yankees’ barber’s chair this morning before heading over to Clearwater. The bouncing red curls that peek out beneath his batting helmet and ball cap were shorn, collected, and given to a charity that makes wigs for the sick and recovering. Frazier: “I like my hair, but I love playing for this organization more.”