Game 10: BAL vs. NYY — 12th inning fumble

Let’s just say that I don’t think I’m the only person who’s glad this weekend series is over. Two extra innings games in a single series is exhausting. And only about a few people (the players and coaches, plus grounds crew and stadium staff) can actually say that justifiably. Today’s extra innings game was mercifully an afternoon start, but it still ran four hours and 48 minutes in total.

Neither starter had a stellar day. The Yankees took advantage of the Orioles’ starter’s off day right in the 1st inning. Gardner and Judge hit consecutive singles, and with 1 out, Neil Walker hit into a failed force attempt that scored Gardner. Austin worked a walk to load up the bases, and Miguel Andujar singled home both Judge and Walker. Austin Romine’s 2-out single then scored Tyler Austin, and Ronald Torreyes’ double scored Andujar. The Orioles had seen enough and pulled their starter right there in the 1st inning, and from there the Yankees struggled against their bullpen.

Meanwhile, the Yankees sent Jordan Montgomery to the mound to start this finale against the Orioles. Montgomery threw 86 pitches into the 5th, but still gave up 10 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs, striking out just 4 batters. In other words, down 5 runs, the Orioles spent the rest of the game chipping away at that large lead. In the 2nd, a lead-off double scored on an RBI single to start the O’s scoring. Then in the 3rd, a lead-off single moved to 2nd on a single, advanced to 3rd on a double play, and then scored on another single.

In the 5th, with 1 out and a single on base, a big 2-run home run put the Orioles within a run. That was it for Montgomery’s outing today. Domingo German came on to close out that inning. And the Yankees answered back in the bottom of that inning with Walker’s lead-off single. He then moved to 2nd on a ground out and to 3rd on a 2-out single by Peterson (after a challenge overturned an original out call). Austin Romine singled Walker home.

But the Orioles answered that one in the 6th — a lead-off single stole 2nd, and then scored on a 2-out single — and in the 7th — a 1-out walk scored as part of a 2-run home run to put the O’s in the lead for the first time this afternoon.

Now, in order to push this into extra innings, the Yankees needed to tie this game up, so they found their opportunity in the 7th. Austin hit a 1-out single, moved to 2nd on Andujar’s walk, ended up at 3rd on Peterson’s fielder’s choice, hung out for a pitching change, and then scored on Austin Romine’s single to tie up the game.

Betances, Chapman, Shreve, and Robertson breezed their way through the 8-11th innings. But then so did their counterparts. The Yankees offense certainly had their moments to hope and hold on, but there just wasn’t enough to cobble together anything to break the tie.

In the 12th, Adam Warren took the mound and the Orioles saw their own opportunity to advance. Warren gave up a 1-out walk and a 2-out single. Another single scored the Orioles’ go-ahead run. But the Yankees battled back in the bottom of the inning. Romine and Gregorius each worked walks, and Gardner’s sacrifice bunt loaded up the bases thanks to a fielding error. With no outs, Judge hit a comebacker to the pitcher who quickly got the double play at home and 3rd to cut down the lead runners. A strike out later, the game was over.

Final score: 8-7 Orioles, in 12 innings, Orioles win series 3-1

It’s worth noting that neither pitching staff came off as perfectly clean, both staffs giving up 16 hits each and still striking out 12 and 15 (Yankee and Orioles, respectively) batters. It just means things weren’t as neat as they probably should be in a regular game.

Next up: the Yankees head up to Fenway to face the Red Sox for a mid-week 3 game series, starting Tuesday. (Tomorrow is an off-day/travel day.) Currently, the Red Sox are on quite a winning streak of 8 games, after losing their opener. Yes, the Red Sox are 8-1 for the season so far.

But no worries, Yankee Universe, it’s been just 10 games. It’s barely April. There’s still 152 games left to play, or 94% of the season left to play. Talk to me in like July if you feel like panicking or calling for Boone/Stanton’s resignation.

Go Yankees!

Game 9: BAL vs. NYY — It may be chilly once again, but it’s always “Sonny” when the bats work.

Well, it seems like just a few hours ago we were talking baseball. Because it was literally just hours ago when last night’s game finally came to a close after 14 innings. But it didn’t seem like it shook the Yankees’ efforts all that much today. In fact, the windy chill of the air in the neighborhood of 42° at first pitch was much more of an issue than lack of sleep for both the Yankees and the Orioles in the third game of this 4-game weekend series.

Neither seemed to faze starter Sonny Gray, who gave the Yankees a strong 6 innings. Throwing 86 pitches, he gave up 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, and struck out just 4 Baltimore batters. In the 3rd, a 2-out single joined the lead-off walk on the base paths, and both scored on a long double to get the O’s on the board. With 2 outs in the 4th, a single then scored on an RBI double to cap off the Orioles’ scoring today.

Adam Warren struggled a bit in the 7th, giving up 2 hits and only getting 1 out, but then David Robertson came in to work his “Houdini” magic, and blast through the next 5 outs, 4 of which were unbelievable strikeouts. Because it’s standard David Robertson. Luis Cessa came on to close out the 8th with a quick 3 outs in just 10 pitches.

Meanwhile, the Yankees offense didn’t seem to realize it was missing hours of sleep, racking up 11 total hits and 7 walks over this afternoon. Andujar led-off the 2nd with a single (his first of the season), moved to 2nd on a ground out, but then was thrown out at 3rd on a fielder’s choice Romine hit into. Romine would move to 3rd on Torreyes’ double before they both scored on Brett Gardner’s single. Down by a run, in the 5th with 1 out, Torreyes singled, moved to 2nd on Gardner’s walk, hustled to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Aaron Judge’s ground out to tie up the game.

But the Yankees weren’t going to let this game go. Gregorius led off the 6th with walk, ended up at 3rd on Austin’s single, and then scored on Miguel Andujar’s sacrifice fly. Tyler Austin later scored on Austin Romine’s single (thanks to a miscommunication of fielders). And in the 7th, Gardner led-off with a walk and then scored on Aaron Judge’s double. Judge moved to 3rd on a fly out before the Orioles intentionally walked Gregorius. Gregorius promptly stole 2nd, which they would need as both runners scored on Tyler Austin’s single.

Final score: 8-3 Yankees

After all the injuries yesterday, we all knew roster moves were inevtiable. Today, the Yankees made their moves. They placed Brandon Drury on the 10-day disabled list with his severe migraines, something he apparently has struggled with for about six years. They also placed CC Sabathia on the 10-day disabled list with right hip strain due to his hip soreness during his shortened outing last night. He will probably only miss one start, but the Yankees aren’t taking any chances with their veteran starter.

But then in their place, the Yankees had to make further movies. They optioned Jonathan Holder to AAA Scranton after his 42-pitch outing last night. They selected the contract of infielder Jace Peterson (who actually made the start in the outfield today and did a really good job). They also recalled pitchers Domingo German and Luis Cessa (who pitched a flawless 9th today) to fill out their depleted bullpen.

And in other injury news: the Yankees announced that reliever Ben Heller underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday after being shelved from baseball activities initially due to a bone spur in his throwing elbow. Surgery soon became inevitable, so they transferred him to the 60-day DL this week. He will be looking at that 12-18 month recovery period, with an eye on sometime early in the 2019 season with a return to the mound.

There was a rather moving piece featuring today’s starter in the recent edition of Yankees Magazine (which also serves as the game day program at Yankee Stadium). It’s worth the read, especially for those of you in Yankee Universe less familiar with what kind of player and man Sonny Gray is. He’s clearly been a good addition to the rotation and the clubhouse, and hopefully, he will continue to make his mark with the Yankees for seasons to come.

Go Yankees!

Spring Games 29 & 30: NYY vs. ATL & TOR vs. NYY — Double the win, double the fun

Okay, it was a busy day for the Yankees playing split squad games and dealing with a mix of changes and potential alterations to the lineup. A portion of the Yankees traveled over to face the Braves in Kissimmee (on Disney World property), and another portion stayed in Tampa to face off against the visiting the Blue Jays. They will play both teams later next week — the Braves in a final exhibition game in Atlanta on Monday night and the opening series in Toronto next weekend.

Game 1: Yankees at Braves
This game was oddly routine for most of the game this afternoon. Luis Severino got the start and gave up 2 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs in his 5 innings, striking out 7 batters along the way. Oddly, all of his allowed hits, walks, and runs came in just the 4th inning. He gave up a single that scored on a big 2-run home run to get the Braves on the board. He then gave up 2 walks but then buckled down and got 2 strikeouts and a ground out to get out of the inning.

Chad Green had a great 6th inning, but then gave up a single in the 7th before the Yankees handed the ball to Adam Warren. A sacrifice bunt moved that runner to 2nd and later a 2-out single scored that runner, charged to Green. Warren came out for the first out of the 8th before handing things over to Ben Heller for a flawless 2 strikeouts. Cody Carroll then flew through the 9th inning. Overall, the Yankee pitchers collected an impressive 14 total strikeouts.

The Braves actually kept the score pretty tight and in their favor for most of the game. The Yankees got on the board first in the 4th, with Aaron Hicks’ lead-off solo home run and Ryan McBroom’s 1-out solo shot. After the Braves tied up the game and then took the lead by the top of the 7th, the Yankees didn’t get their next option until the 9th inning. And boy did they pounce. McBroom led-off with a walk, moved to 2nd on Aguilar’s single, and then scored on Gleyber Torres’ 2-out single to tie up the game.

Then Billy McKinney’s single then scored Aguilar to put the Yankee ahead, and a wild pitch moved runners to scoring position. Shane Robinson’s single scored Torres, and the Braves called for a new reliever to find that elusive 3rd out. But then Hendrix worked a walk to load the bases, and Francisco Diaz followed that up with a walk of his own to scored yet another run. Back to the top of the inning’s order, McBroom then hit a long single and 2 runners scored thanks in part to a throwing error.

Final score: 8-3 Yankees

Game 2: Blue Jays at Yankees
Meanwhile, back in Tampa, the game was anything but usual, with both teams going back and forth for much of the game. David Hale got the start with mixed results in his 3 innings. He gave up a 1-out single and a 2-out 2-run homer right in the 1st inning. In the 3rd, a lead-off single moved to 2nd on a ground out and then scored on a 2-out single.

The Yankee batters kept the score close though. In the 1st, with 2 outs, Stanton worked a walk and then scored as part of Didi Gregorius’ 2-run home run to tie up the game. In the 4th, Miguel Andujar worked a walk, stole 2nd, and then scored on Austin Romine’s long 2-out double that bounced off the center field wall (just inches from the top off the wall to be a home run).

Judge hit a 1-out single in the 5th and then scored with Giancarlo Stanton’s monster 2-run home run that dented the Pepsi sign on the top left of the big scoreboard in left field. In the 6th, they loaded up the bases with singles by Andujar and Florial and a walk to Romine. With 1 out, Brett Gardner hit a long sacrifice fly and scored Andujar. Then Rashad Crawford hit a solid double to scored Florial. That gave the Yankees a nice lead.

Giovanny Gallegos threw a strong 2 innings, before handing the ball to JP Feyereisen in the 6th. Feyereisen had a fairly strong 6th, despite giving up a 1-out solo shot. But the lead-off batter in the 7th hit a sharp comebacker that smacked Feyereisen’s hand. He was flexing it, and they let him continue. But he struggled with control (an oddity for the young prospect) for the rest of the inning — giving up a ground-rule double, a 2-RBI single, a double play, and a walk.

Young reliever Josh Rogers came on to finish off the 7th for Feyereisen and closed out that inning scoreless before plowing through the next 2 innings and keeping the Blue Jays from adding to their score and chipping away at the Yankees’ lead.

Oddly paralleling the other game, the Yankees had a rather big offensive inning at home. This one in the bottom of the 7th. They loaded up the bases with a single, an error, and a walk. Estevan Florial worked a walk to score a run before Erik Kratz powered a big bases-clearing, 3-run double. One out later, Zack Zehner hit a big 2-run home run off the black screen above center field. Despite loading up the bases and a pitching change, the Yankees weren’t able to add more to their score.

But they really didn’t need it.

Final score: 13-6 Yankees

Ones to Watch: for the final Spring Training nominees, we’ve got outfielder Rashad Crawford and pitcher Josh Rogers. Crawford is consistent in his defense, for a second Spring in a row, and his outstanding offense today (2 hits in 2 at-bats, 1 RBI) helped the Yankees power through toward victory. And the dominance of Rogers’ pitching helped keep the Blue Jays away, throwing 7 solid outs and earning the save in today’s game. Both young players (ages 24 and 23, respectively) are certainly worth keeping an eye on, with a call to the Bronx sometime in the near future.

Next up: the Yankees play their final Florida-based Spring Training game tomorrow afternoon in Port Charlotte against the Rays. It’s almost over, everyone. Opening Day is right around the corner.

Injury: Brandon Drury is nursing a bruised elbow, buying an elbow pad to be worn for all future at-bats, and being grateful there wasn’t something more serious that would deter him from playing in the opening series next week. And Greg Bird was scheduled to start the game against the Braves, but during batting practice, Bird felt a soreness in his foot. And what complicates things is that it’s the same area that troubled him for most of last season that hampered his play time. They are sending him to further testing, while crossing fingers and hoping for the best. The small advantage is the ridiculous depth the Yankees do have now — Tyler Austin, Neil Walker, and even Austin Romine can all play 1st if necessary.

Roster: before today’s games, the Yankees sent Domingo German down to AAA Scranton, effectively making Jonathan Holder the extra reliever the Yankees hope to carry into the season. More roster moves are expected this weekend before the Yankees leave for Atlanta, but most of the spots are now pretty set. And that alone should give everyone some really big hope for this season. They’re really good. Their back-ups are really good. This whole team could be something to watch this season.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: limited media available for the home game against the Blue Jays. It was amazing, so I’m sorry you won’t get to see it.}

Spring Game 27: NYY vs. MIN — Cool and sunny Spring win

Well, today was another nice day in Florida, a cool, clear afternoon to play some baseball in the last few bits of Spring Training. Of course, back in New York, the city and stadium are digging themselves out from underneath the latest snow storm. The Yankees took themselves about 2.5 hours (or 143 miles) down the Gulf Coast to visit the Twins in Fort Myers.

Jordan Montgomery got the start in today’s game, throwing an impressive 6 strong innings. He kept the Twins from doing much damage all afternoon, with a single exception. In the 5th, he gave up 3 consecutive singles to load up the bases before getting the first out of the inning, a fly out. A sacrifice fly scored one run and moved the other runners into scoring position, but a fly out ended that threat. Those 3 allowed hits were half of Montgomery’s allowed hit all 6 innings. This certainly sets him up to be a rather interesting cog in this season’s rotation.

Domingo German also put up his case as to why they should pick him (over Holder) for the final bullpen spot. In his 3 innings today, he kept the Twins scoreless and hitless. In other words, he was dominant and a completely valid contender for what could be long-term relief in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Twins pitching staff became a rotating door as it certainly kept the Yankees from doing much of anything today as well. Billy McKinney kicked off the minimal scoring today with a 2-out solo home run into the right field seating area in the 2nd inning. After the Twins tied things up in the 5th, the Yankees came back in the top of the 6th. With 2 outs, Tyler Austin doubled and then scored on Austin Romine’s long single to give the Yankees the slim lead.

Final score: 2-1 Yankees

Next up: the Yankees will host their annual big rivalry game as the Red Sox come north to Tampa to face off for an afternoon game. Masahiro Tanaka currently listed as the starting pitcher for the game.

Yet another lighter side: Another commercial was released today for the Yankees. This time, it stars Dellin Betances, Masahiro Tanaka, and David Robertson (with a cameo from a familiar face to regular Spring Training fans). It’s all in the release, guys.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 24: TB vs. NYY — 9th inning heroics… by the other guys

Look, tonight’s game was going really well for most of the games for the Yankees. They held off the Rays’ batters for most of the game consistently, their pitchers dominating the ironic “hometown” visiting team. And things looked great for setting up the Yankees for a win. Right up until that 9th inning under an unlikely reliever.

Sabathia was to start tonight, but instead was pulled this morning to throw a simulated game. Many of the regular starters seem to be doing this or pitching in minor league games to hone their skills leading up to next Thursday’s Opening Day. Instead, that leaves the game to minor league starters and a plethora of relievers to show off the depth of the Yankees organization. One of those, David Hale, got the start tonight, going 3 full, scoreless innings, and getting 5 great strikeouts (of his 9 outs).

Tommy Kahnle continued this momentum through the 4th and 5th innings, handing things over to Chad Green for a flawless 6th inning. Dellin Betances jumped in for two strong innings he’s more comfortable with — the 7th and 8th — and added 4 strikeouts of his own. (The Yankees pitchers would get 10 total strikeouts tonight off Rays’ batters.)

Leading up to this point in the game, the Yankees chipped away at the Rays’ pitchers in small ways, working 7 walks and getting just 6 total hits. In the 2nd, Gregorius led-off with a walk, moved to 2nd on Tyler Austin’s single, and then to 3rd when Romine hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd. So with runners in the corners and 2 outs, Ronald Torreyes singled and scored Gregorius to get the Yankees on the board. But then they started a familiar song — Gardner walked to load the bases, but the Yankees couldn’t capitalize on that opportunity with a little grounder to 2nd to end the inning with those bases loaded.

They got another shot in the 6th. Hicks worked a lead-off walk, and Gregorius singled. Austin’s ground out moved both runners into scoring position, and Austin Romine’s sacrifice fly scored Hicks to double the Yankees’ score. But that was it for the Yankees tonight. Plenty of opportunities, but nothing that was tangible on the scoreboard.

Anyway, so the Yankees pitchers and defense had completely shut out the visiting Rays going into the 9th inning. Literally, they just needed 3 outs, and everyone could go home. So turning to reliable Adam Warren to close the game seemed like a logical step. Except he wasn’t so reliable tonight, in a weird turn of events. He gave up consecutive singles that scored as part of a big 3-run home run to suddenly put the Rays in the lead with a single swing.

He gave up another home run, a 1-out solo shot to roughly the same outfield section to add one more Rays’ run. After another out and a single, the Yankees had seen enough and called on another fairly reliable reliever, Chasen Shreve. Fortunately, Shreve wasn’t having a flukey night like Warren and was able to wrap things up quickly with a nice strikeout. But the Yankee batters got a quick 3 outs in the bottom of the 9th, handing things over to the Rays in a single inning.

Final score: 4-2 Rays

O2W: Once again, there wasn’t much playing time for the farm team players. But with Bird solidly at 1st for the regular roster, the chances we’ll see the likes of Tyler Austin for much of 2018 are slim. (If Bird stays healthy. Fingers crossed.) That makes Austin on my radar consistently. They’ve played him a lot this Spring, and rightly so. He is a stellar ball player, great on defense, contributing to the offense, and (most importantly) consistent. And that consistency makes him worth watching once again and for the rest of this season. I have no doubt he’ll make a Bronx appearance at some point in 2018 because that’s how things work. But he’s already earned the spot and the consideration.

Next up: The Yankees head back to Lakeland again to face the Tigers. However, there is a cold front (hallelujah!) on its way tomorrow night, so heavy storms will be ushering that front in, making tomorrow afternoon look rather unplayable and could be the first (and only) cancelled game for the Yankees this Spring. Like Sabathia this morning, the Yankees originally scheduled Sonny Gray for the game, but he will pitch in a minor league game instead. They haven’t announced a replacement just yet.

On a lighter note: the Yankees released their first commercial for the 2018 season, they cheekily called “Little Toe Has Big Dreams“. It stars Torreyes and features Stanton and Judge and a very special jar of pickles. Enjoy!

Go Yankees!

{Media note: no broadcast, no highlights. Sorry!}

Spring Game 9: NYY vs. BOS — Setting a good start for the rivalry this year

The Yankees traveled down the coast to “Fenway South” for the first rivalry game of the season. The Yankees won’t host the Red Sox until the end of the Spring, so this was a nice taste of the long-term AL East rivals for the season.

Prospect pitcher Chance Adams started the big game this afternoon and had a pretty great start for his 2 innings. Another prospect pitcher, Justus Sheffield, came on in relief for his 2 innings and got into a spot of trouble in the 4th inning. After 2 outs, Sheffield gave up a double that scored on a long single to get the Red Sox on the board.

Reliever Brady Lail came on for a scoreless 5th inning, but then struggled in the 6th giving up 2 singles to put runners on the corners. After an out, 2 more singles scored both runners. So Lail handed the ball to Trevor Lane to wrap up the inning. In the 7th, Cody Carroll kept Lane’s scoreless momentum going before handing things over to Jonathan Holder‘s final 2 scoreless innings.

Meanwhile, the Yankees took their time and found their offensive openings when they could. In the 3rd, Aaron Hicks smacked a solid 1-out solo home run to get the Yankees on their board. They found footing again in the 6th as Torres doubled and moved to 2nd on a balk before scoring on Austin Romine’s 2-out single.

Down by a run in the 8th, the Yankees found one more opportunity to advance. Espinosa led-off with a walk, and Holder double to move both into scoring position. Minor leaguer Jeff Hendrix smacked a 1-out double to score both runners. After a pitching change and another out, Miguel Andujar hit one more run (Hendrix) in with his single to cap off the scoring.

Final score: 5-3 Yankees

Next up: the Yankees host the Rays before a dual hometown crowd tomorrow afternoon. Chad Green is set to face off with former Yankee Eovaldi.

It is worth noting that the Yankees are currently 8-1 on the standings, top of the league just like they finished last Spring Training. However, I took a brief look back at the 2017 Spring standings, finding where the teams that faced off in the 2017 World Series ended up. The Astros finished 15-15, the Dodgers 18-17 — both clearly middle of the pack in both leagues. But both by October the Astros won 101 games, the Dodgers 104, easily the top of their divisions (the Dodgers at the top of all of MLB). In other words, Spring tells you a grand total of nothing.

But as I’ve said before, while your team is leading in the standings (even the ones that don’t really matter), you take what you can get. And as of today, the Yankees are the best team in all of MLB. So I’ll take it.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 5: NYY vs. TOR — A rather messy way to win a game

I’m not going to lie. There are some games that are just an absolute train wreck. They are definitely more common in Spring Training where it seems more like Little League than professional baseball. And usually, it doesn’t turn out well for one team. But this was certainly a joint effort that somehow ended up in the Yankees’ favor.

The Yankees found their way to visit the Blue Jays’ Spring home in Dunedin (about 30 minutes west of Tampa). Back to being called Dunedin Stadium (and the angels rejoice!), the Yankees were looking to extend their undefeated winning streak this Spring, and it certainly took more than a little effort to get there. Today’s starter Chad Green got off to a great start in his first inning, but then struggled in his second, giving up a 1-out solo home run. A 2-out double was too far, and the Yankees turned to reliever Trevor Lane, who got out of the 2nd and kept the 3rd scoreless.

The Yankees came back in the 4th to advance. Danny Espinosa smacked a 1-out solo home run that bounced off the scoreboard out in left field to tie up the game. Austin Romine followed that up with a solid double, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on a wild pitch to put the Yankees in the lead. Briefly. Because reliever David Hale got into his own set of trouble in the bottom of the 4th. With a 1-out walk lingering at 1st, the defense rose to the occasion to get the out at home on a long double. But then a single tied up the game again and a wild pitch moved the runner into scoring position to do so on yet another single to give the Blue Jays the lead again.

After a scoreless 5th inning on both sides, the Yankees tied up the game in the 6th as last night’s hero Miguel Andujar smacked another home run. In the bottom of the 6th,  after a great 5th inning, prospect reliever JP Feyereisen came back out for the 6th, but then he started struggling too, giving up a lead-off walk who promptly scored on a big triple. So the Yankees turned to Raynel Espinal, but even he gave up a 1-out single that scored another Jays’ run.

In the top of the 7th, the Yankees came charging back as Florial tripled and then scored on Shane Robinson’s sacrifice fly. Then Ryan McBroom led-off a big 8th inning with a solo home run that finally tied up the game again. Wade singled, Higashioka walks, and Diaz hit a sacrifice bunt that was mishandled and thus loaded up the bases, with no outs. A wild pitch moved up all the runners, scoring the go ahead run for the Yankees. After an easy ground out, the Blue Jays went back to their bullpen. It didn’t really help. Florial’s walk loaded up the bases again, and Amburgey hit into a ground out that got the runner at home, keeping the bases loaded. It would be Mark Payton’s bases-clearing double that gave the Yankees enough of a lead to breathe again.

They would need it. Reliever Adonis Rosa had a flawless, 3-strikeout 7th inning, but then floundered a bit coming back out for the bottom of the 8th, giving up a lead-off solo homer and a big double. Josh Rogers came on in relief for Rosa to keep the Yankees in the lead, getting a great double play, a single, and a routine ground out to get out of the inning. But even he had trouble when he came back in the 9th, giving up a lead-off single, a 1-out balk, and a long 2-run home run to put the Jays within a single run. Fortunately, Cale Coshow was able to quickly close out the game in 2 outs to preserve the Yankees minuscule lead.

It’s worth noting that the Yankees’ pitchers gave up 14 hits, while the Yankees’ batters only racked up 9 hits. Stats aren’t always the easiest way to determine how good a game went. But in this case, it’s rather indicative of the kind of messy game the fans in Dunedin got to witness today. But since all that matters (in games that don’t really matter) is the win, I’ll take it.

Final score: 9-8 Yankees

Next up: the Yankees are back in Tampa tomorrow afternoon to host the Tigers again. And they’ll be going for 6 straight wins in an undefeated start to maintain that top spot in both the Grapefruit League and American League so far. I know these standings don’t really count for anything, and they don’t reflect any possible outcome for the rest of the season. But we cling to the good that we can while we can, so that’s where we are.

Go Yankees!