Spring Game 3: NYY vs. PHI — Powering to a 3rd straight win

Well, how’s that for a nice winning streak for the start of the 2018 season? We’re at three straight wins for Opening Weekend in Spring Training. I mean, I’m a firm believer that Spring Training standings tell you absolutely nothing about how October baseball will turn out. But a nice jump-start to the season, heavy already in the win column has to be good for morale — both for the team and its fans.

The Yankees traveled the short distance across Tampa Bay to visit the spring home of the Phillies in Clearwater. Another warm (believe me, too warm for February), sunny day in the area, and the Yankees started strong and stayed strong, despite some hiccups. Jordan Montgomery, the young rookie starter from last season, got his Spring start today and showed why he is meant to be a starter once again for the Yankees — a strong 2 innings to kick off the game and set himself up for the win.

Prospect pitcher Justus Sheffield had a good 3rd inning, but really got roughed up in the 4th. A lead-off walk, hit-by-a-pitch, and a ground out to 2nd left runners lingering in the corners. A sacrifice fly scored one run before a big 2-run home run cleared the bases and ended Sheffield’s day just shy of 2 full innings. Reliever Wade LeBlanc came in and kept the Phillies from doing more damage over his 7 outs. Coshow, Espinal, and Gallegos closed out the final third of the game with a scoreless inning each. Overall, the Yankee pitchers were outstanding with 12 strikeouts and just 4 hits by Phillies’ batters.

Comparatively, the Phillies’ pitchers were certainly having less of a stellar day, giving up 12 total hits to Yankee batters today, starting with Ellsbury’s lead-off single in the 1st. Torres followed that up with a nice double to put them in scoring position. After an out, Hicks popped up a fly ball, but the 3rd baseman lost it in the sun, dropping it and loading up the bases. With 2 outs, Danny Espinosa (an infielder, newly traded from most recently the Rays) smacked a long double into the right field corner. After all three runners scored, Espinosa tried to stretch it to a triple and was easily tagged out at 3rd to end the inning.

In the 4th, Hicks led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on Ronald Torreyes’ sacrifice fly. The Yankees ended up needing that extra run to stay in the lead in the bottom of that inning. But they came back in the 6th with Higashioaka’s lead-off single. Torreyes then hits a double to move both into scoring position and is pinch-run by Avelino. Then young minor leaguer Jeff Hendrix hits what should be an easy out, but it mishandled by the 1st baseman enough for both Higashioka and Avelino to add 2 more runs to the score.

In the 8th, Higashioka again leads off, this time with a double. After Peterson’s walk and Avelino’s single, the bases are loaded. Hendrix’s single scored one run, and Rashad Crawford’s long sacrifice fly scored one more to cap off the big afternoon.

Final score: 8-3 Yankees

Next up: The Yankees will face the Phillies again tomorrow. But this time, they host in Tampa for that rare evening game during Spring Training.

And in alumni news: The Yankees announced today that Alex Rodriguez will be back with the Yankees, this year to serve as a Special Advisor to GM Brian Cashman. Rodriguez joins other Yankee alums like Reggie Jackson, Hideki Matsui, and Nick Swisher as they help the staff develop the next generation of Yankee greats.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: Like every Spring, there is always a minimal amount of available clips to include, even when they are televised on a major cable network. My apologies!}

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