Ben Francisco really cemented some Yankee fandom today in Lakeland during the Yankees’ 10-6 loss to Detroit, with 2 home runs to left-center field. In yet another game of high hits (16 for Detroit, 14 for Yankees), it seemed that almost every starter today got to slap the ball around the field.
Today’s starter Andy Pettitte allowed 4 runs (including a home run) off 8 hits, only walking one batter and striking out 5 over 6 innings today. And this would have been seen as a decent start for his second time starting in a Grapefruit League game, except his reliever Cody Eppley was very off his game today, allowing 5 hits and 5 runs (1 home run) in the single inning he pitched, affording himself today’s loss.
We are down to the last few games before Opening Day, so while nothing’s going to count as far as statistics go, so much is on the line for those not already nailed down with a definite contract for this season. Francisco, for example, may be starting to shape into a decent bench player with his strong bat. Defensively, he may need some fine-tuning, so I guess the club is going to need to decide what is more important offense or defense for this team.
I was reading some baseball history this last week and found myself drawn to stories of how every season’s winning team manufactured their wins by various measures. I know everyone thinks of the Yankees as the “Bombers”, which is there, but their winning dynasty of the 90’s was composed of hitters, bunters, and runners to score the runs and so many of their stars were on the DL with serious injuries (David Cone’s shoulder aneurysm comes to mind). Sound familiar?
So while the rest of the league is building teams scattered with today’s Sosa, McGuire, and Bonds, the Yankees seem to be focused on what they have that works: hitters, bunters, and runners… and Robinson Cano. It sounds like a winning combination to me, but I guess we shall see.