That was definitely not how you want to end your time in Florida for Spring Training. After a big double win yesterday, the Yankees just couldn’t seem to find their footing in Port Charlotte (about 90 minutes down the Gulf Coast between Sarasota and Fort Myers) in today’s game against the Rays.
Brian Keller had a rough start and set the pace for most of the Yankee pitching today. Throwing just into the 3rd inning, he gave up 8 hits and 5 runs, getting just 1 strikeout in his 8 outs. He gave up a lead-off walk in the 1st that stole 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on a sacrifice fly to get the Rays on the board first. In the 3rd, he then gave up a single that scored as part of a 2-run home run. Then a 1-out double scored as part of a 2-out 2-run homer to keep the Rays advancing. Two singles later, Keller’s afternoon was done.
Brady Lail came on and ended the threat with a solid strikeout. With 1 out in the 4th, he gave up a double and a walk to allow his own threat before a strikeout ended his afternoon. Adonis Rosa’s relief began with an RBI single. And his 5th inning sealed the game for the Rays — a single, a 2-run home run, a fly out, 2 solo home runs, and then 2 more outs.
Trevor Lane’s 6th inning was less dramatic. With 1 out, he gave up a solo homer, a walk, and a wild pitch before getting out of the inning without further damage. That improvement was picked up by Raynel Espinal in the 7th whose 3 outs were 3 solid strikeouts, and Andrew Schwaab followed suit in the 8th with his own 3 strikeouts. Collectively, the Yankee pitchers gave up 16 hits and 4 walks, and earned 11 strikeouts.
On the other side of things, the Yankee batters worked 12 strikeouts and just 4 total hits. This reflected the mass of zeroes by their name that stretched across the scoreboard for most of the game. It wasn’t until the 9th inning that they determined they weren’t going to be so badly shut-out of today’s game. Diego Castillo led off with a nice double, and 2 outs later, Trey Amburgey’s easy single scored Castillo to end the shut out. Despite a walk to Jorge Saez, the Yankees were unable to chip away at the Rays’ large lead any further.
Final score: 11-1 Rays
Up next: the Yankees play their final pre-season game against the Braves in Atlanta, a repeat of last season that helped inaugurate the Braves’ new stadium. Tomorrow night’s game will feature Sonny Gray on the mound.
Injury news: Greg Bird will be one player not making the trip to Atlanta. He’s on his way to New York for more tests on that sore foot after feeling some discomfort during pre-game batting practice yesterday. He was examined by team doctors yesterday, given an MRI and CT scan, which revealed inflammation but nothing further. He will see a foot specialist tomorrow in the City who will hopefully have a clearer diagnosis and time-table for Bird’s treatment, recovery, and return to baseball activity.
We’re still waiting on a finalized 25-man roster, but that’s pretty much set based on where they’ve optioned everyone over the last week or so. Technically, nothing is set until they make the announcements on Opening Day. And I have a feeling they are waiting on the results from Bird’s appointment before determining who they might need to pull up, like Tyler Austin (who is currently on the 40-man, but not the 25-man), who could certainly cover 1st base while Bird recovers. Beyond that, there is still a question mark on Jacoby Ellsbury’s readiness and whether the 12-13 split will favor the bullpen or the bench.
In other words, there’s still time to sort out details. So be prepared for an onslaught of information once there is information to share.