In stark contrast to nearly every other game so far this Spring, the sky was overcast and moody, a heavy feeling in the air with the incoming storm in the area that only cancelled one game (the Twins-Red Sox game in Fort Myers, about 90 minutes south of Tampa). But that certainly didn’t stop the New York teams from meeting at Steinbrenner Field this afternoon before a packed house of over 10,000 fans.
Luis Cessa got the start today and had a bit of a shaky time, ending in the loading the bases with 2 walks and a single in just the 2nd inning. So the Yankees turned to “Houdini”, aka David Robertson, who breezed his way through 2 strong strikeouts to keep the Mets scoreless. Aroldis Chapman had a strong 3rd inning, getting 2 solid strikeouts of his own. Dellin Betances came on for the 4th and allowed a lead-off single and then stole both 2nd and 3rd before scoring on the ground out.
Then going into the 5th inning, the Yankees took the field. And there was no pitcher. The in-between innings clock expired. And no pitcher. Aaron Boone walked over to the dugout from his spot and sent someone into the clubhouse. Apparently, Adam Warren (the next reliever on the list) was just beginning his warm-ups, and Betances was supposed to pitch into the 5th inning. So, Betances is half-way out of uniform when he’s told to suit up and get back on the field. Betances comes back out and pitches to one more batter, giving up a single. By then Warren was good to go, so Betances found his way back to the clubhouse again (after being rather razzed by his teammates on the way).
Warren actually closed out the 5th pretty well thanks to Romine’s stellar pick-off skills, getting 2 batters trying to advance. All three of Warren’s outs in the 6th were strikeouts, but in between, he got into a spot of trouble. He gave up a double that scored on a single up the middle. On that play, 2nd baseman (and top contender for that job) Tyler Wade dove for the ball just behind 2nd but fell on his glove wrong, twisting his wrist wrong. After a few moments and a visit from the medical team, Wade was escorted off the field, flexing his hurt wrist. It’s painful, but fine. He ended up just icing it and hopes to play in Monday’s game.
Reliever Chad Green came on for the 7th. He gave up a 1-out walk that ended up being a fielder’s choice out on a grounder. A wild pitch moved that runner to scoring position who scored on a single. Green then took the first 2 outs of the 8th, before handing the ball to side-arm James Reeves. Reeves kept the Mets scoreless into the 9th inning, but gave up a walk and a ground-rule double to put runners in scoring position. So they called on Jordan Foley, who threw one pitch to get the batter to pop out to 3rd to end the game.
After a lesser hitting game yesterday, the Yankees certainly made up for it today. They kicked off things in the 1st inning. Gardner and Judge each singled, but ended up in scoring position on a slow throw from the outfield. Then Stanton stepped up, but was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brandon Drury hit a short single to keep those bases loaded and scored Gardner. Tyler Austin hit into a fielder’s choice at 2nd and made it safely to 1st as Judge scored another run. A double play ended that exciting 1st inning.
The 3rd inning looked briefly like a weird replay of the 1st. Gardner singled, and Judge doubled to land them both in scoring position (again). After an out, a ground out still scored the speedy Gardner. With 2 outs in the 5th, Judge worked a walk and then scored on Giancarlo Stanton hit a monster 2-run home run up the middle, his first homer of the year. In the 6th, with 2 outs, Peterson walked and ended up at 3rd on Torreyes’ double. After a pitching change, Kyle Holder doubled to score both runners to keep adding to the Yankees’ lead.
And in the 8th, Diaz led off with a single and moved to 3rd on Peterson’s single. Avelino’s fielder’s choice scored Diaz. Holder singled to load the bases, and Estevan Florial’s single scored Avelino, thanks in part to a fielding error, keeping the bases loaded. Shane Robinson’s sacrifice fly capped off the Yankees’ scoring this afternoon.
Final score: 10-3 Yankees
One to Watch: This was actually a fairly easy choice today. In the 6th, when Wade injured his wrist, Kyle Holder quickly jumped at the chance to make sure that Wade’s efficiency at 2nd didn’t leave a hole. In fact, Holder showed off his stellar defense for the rest of the game, rising to every occasion. Plus, he hit very well, going 2-for-2, with 1 run scored and 2 RBIs.
More camp cuts: Before today’s game, the Yankees optioned pitcher Domingo Acevedo AA Trenton and reassigned pitcher Brian Keller to minor league camp.
Before the game today, Brett Gardner was honored for his continued work with the Taylor Hooten Foundation, an organization that promotes athletics without performance-enhancing drugs. Gardner has been a charter member of its MLB players advisory board and is part of its 2018 campaign and PSA titled “It’s All Me”.
And on a funny note: before Giancarlo Stanton got his 1st homer of the year today, he fouled off a couple of hits. One flew straight back towards the press box and smacked into the window. And yes, it cracked. Previous years have seen cracked windows on the suites and executive offices on either side of and above the press box, forcing the Yankees to invest in shatter-proof windows. Perhaps it’s time for an upgrade for the press too. Gardner actually said it best though: “The press box? I can hit the press box. He needs to hit them in the other direction.” (And he did.)