Spring Game 14: NYY vs. BAL — Solid Saturday (almost) shutout

There’s nothing like a little Saturday night baseball. Of course, a win after a messy loss helps make it a bit better. The Yankees headed down to Sarasota to play the Orioles this evening in their first night away game, mainly just showing up and playing baseball helped solidify their win tonight.

Luis Cessa got the start tonight and just dominated the Orioles for 4 innings and setting himself up for the eventual win. Tarpley, Abreu, and Diehl followed suit through keeping the O’s scoreless through 8 innings. Harvey then came in for the 9th and gave up a lead-off solo home run to break the shutout for the home team.

But the Yankees gave their pitchers enough run support to attempt that collective shutout. Tyler Wade led-off the game with a ground-rule double, moved to 3rd on a fly out, and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s sacrifice fly. Then in the 4th, Torres doubled and scored on Greg Bird’s 1-out single.

Urshela led-off the 5th with a double and then scored when Trey Amburgey made it all the way to 2nd on a throwing error. Billy Burns’ double then scored Amburgey, and Burns promptly stole 3rd. Two outs later, Sanchez’s single scored Burns to keep the runs coming.

Finally, in the 9th, Angel Aguilar kicked off the inning with a solo home run. But after some more messy fielding and runners on the corners, the Orioles made a final pitching change and got out of the game without further damage.

Final score: 6-1 Yankees

Next up: the Yankees play another set of split squad games tomorrow. Part of the team will travel to Lakeland to face the Tigers, and the rest will stay in Tampa to host the Pirates.

And it’s official. The Yankees have announced that Masahiro Tanaka will be their Opening Day starter when the Yankees play in Baltimore on March 28. It was supposed to be Severino, but with his recent shoulder injury, the chances of his being in the rotation any time soon is looking less likely. Another option would have been Sabathia, but he will likely be starting the year on the disabled list and then has to serve his 5-game suspension for the game in late September against the Rays before setting foot on the mound.

Paxton and Happ will follow in the rotation order with the other two spots wide open for possibilities. Logical choices could be tonight’s starter Cessa, Loaisiga, or German or some combination of the three long-term relievers. This could include that weird opener method the Rays used — having a short reliever for the 1st inning, then a series of 1-2 long relievers before a closer finishes the game. In other words, there are options.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 28: BOS vs. NYY — Shut out at home again

It’s really only fair. The Yankees totally beat the Red Sox in their Spring home earlier this month, so they decided to return the favor. It was a nice day for baseball, fairly comfortable weather, clear skies. Of course, there were the requisite rowdy fans (on both sides) who try to liven up the rivalry hype without understanding the basic parameters of the long-standing rivalry. (In other words, fair-weather fans who don’t really understand words like teamwork, cheering, and baseball.)

Anyway, the Red Sox paid the Yankees their annual visit, watched by a passionate sold-out crowd, and helmed by Masahiro Tanaka. Today was easily Tanaka’s best start of the Spring, throwing into the 6th inning and getting 6 strong strikeouts. His lone allowed run was a lead-off solo shot in the 3rd inning. With 2 outs, he gave up a couple hits in the 6th, and the Yankees called in Tommy Kahnle for that inning’s final out.

Chasen Shreve came on in the 7th and had a bit of struggles, starting with a solo shot to lead-off the inning. A double then scored on a 1 out single, but then that runner got tagged out trying to stretch the hit into a double. (Seriously, Gardner’s arm is not to be tested.) Dellin Betances celebrated his birthday by having some trouble on the mound in the 8th inning. He gave up a walk and a single before finally getting a strikeout.

Brady Lail came on in relief and got his own strikeout, but then a single scored Betances’ lead runner before another strikeout got him out of the inning. And two more strikeouts later in the 9th, he gave up consecutive strikeouts, unable to find that 3rd out. Reliever Andrew Schwaab came on and gave up an RBI single before finding that 3rd out to end the Red Sox’s rule today.

Yankee pitchers gave up 13 hits today, and still struck out 11 Boston batters. But Yankee batters had much less luck, only collecting 5 hits and striking out 9 times. And, the biggest stat of the day — no runs scored. Shutout again at home. Bummer.

Final score: 5-0 Red Sox

One to Watch: Angel Aguilar came into the game in the 5th (see below) and really did a stellar job at 3rd base covering for Drury. The young infielder could certainly hold his own with veterans on the field.

Next up: the Yankees play their only split squad games of the season. Part of the team will play the final home Spring game against the Blue Jays, while another part of the team will travel to Disney to play the Braves. Pitchers on the schedule are David Hale and Luis Severino, respectively.

Injury: Brandon Drury was hit by a pitch on the elbow in the 5th. He continued the game, even ending up at 3rd on Walker’s ground-rule double. But while the Red Sox were making a pitching change, the Yankees trainer noticed Drury wasn’t moving his left arm well. So they pulled him and sent him for tests, specifically x-rays, which thankfully came back negative. Angel Aguilar filled in for Drury and proved an excellent back-up (see above).

Another lighter note: the Yankees released another ad. This one revised a previous ad they did parodying American Idol, calling it “Roll Call Idol“. In this version, Greg Bird “auditions” to change up his response to Roll Call, being judge by Yankee veterans Gardner, Gregorius, and Sabathia (or their impressions of Simon, Paula, and Randy).

And if you’ve been following all these ads this week, there’s also a ton of outtakes and bloopers to laugh at. (The links for: Roll Call Idol, Didi’s World, Relief Heating Company, and Catch and Release.)

Go Yankees!