Game 119: NYY vs. BAL — 8th inning fade out

Michael Pineda is back and in better than expected form for someone who hasn’t pitched in an MLB game since April. Easing him back into the rotation, Pineda threw 67 pitches over his strong 5 innings against the Orioles, allowing just 2 hits and 1 run, and striking out 4 batters. For 4 innings, Pineda was working a no-hitter, shutting down the Orioles in order with such precision. The 5th inning dented his attempt when he allowed a lead-off double, a single, and then an RBI sacrifice fly.

In the mean time, the Yankees gave him a small window of a lead in the 3rd inning. Drew led off that inning with a double, and then Francisco Cervelli planted a long 2-run home run into left-center field (just his 2nd home run of the season). After the 5th inning, the Yankees clung to their 2-1 lead for quite a while, with a much-needed win in sight.

Dellin Betances pitched the 6th and 7th innings, keeping that possibility of a win for the returning Pineda intact. But then the 8th inning happened. Betances came back for the 8th, but gave up a solo home run to tie up the game. So they called on Shawn Kelley to finish the inning. It’s unfortunate that it wasn’t until more damage was done that he finally got that the inning was over. Kelley gave up a single and a walk before hanging a perfect slider right over the plate so that the Orioles best hitter could slam a 3-run home run and blow the Yankees’ hopes for a win out of the water.

The Yankees tried to make a come back in the 9th. Teixeira worked a walk, and Beltran doubled, so Chase Headley’s groundout scored Teixeira. But one out later, the score was firmly 5-3 Orioles. Another Yankee loss in the books, and the team heads down to Florida for the weekend.

A couple of interesting plays made tonight — Martin Prado jumped at the perfect time to snag a ball right at the right field wall in the 4th inning, and the Girardi ejection in the 7th inning. The Prado jump grab is really a beautiful play, especially for someone who hasn’t spent much time in right field and is still getting used to that position. The ejection was different, as I’m not sure I agree with it. I can understand the call in theory — if the runner did step out of the base path and the throw was technically obstructed. But I don’t really agree that’s what happened and perhaps an explanation or a review (can those calls even be reviewed?) might have been a better option rather just tossing an arguing manager. I mean, it’s not 2013 anymore. Isn’t that why we asked for and got replay this year? I know I’m not the only one confused here on the replay and what is an arguable call anymore. Again, I guess it’s the big guinea pig season for all that now.

In roster news (because what post this season isn’t complete without that kind of news?)…

Brian McCann will most likely come off the DL this Saturday; I imagine that means Romine will head back to Scranton in his place.

Masahiro Tanaka’s rehab is progressing to throwing on flat ground, a big step towards his targeted September return.

After sending Bryan Mitchell back to AAA Scranton and pulling up Chris Leroux to fill the 25-man roster on Monday, to make room for the returning Pineda today, the Yankees designated Leroux for assignment.

An off-day and travel day for the team tomorrow, but at MLB, things are heating up. The race to elect the new commissioner to replace retiring Bud Selig is on, and the owners vote until they can reach a consensus (at least 23 of the 30 votes for approval). It’s quite a heated race so far, much like most political elections. It will be something to watch how this unfolds.

Go Yankees!

Game 29: TB vs. NYY — Back in business and ain’t it grand…

I can tell you up front that today’s game was much better than last night’s (or rather this morning’s). And somehow, the shortened sleep time didn’t seem to bother anyone. Okay, it probably explains why some people were given the day off. But then again, everyone still showed up early because of Season Pass Holder Photo Day — the day when full season pass holders get a meet and greet with the players, coaches, media staff, and various other VIPs. It’s a great time for the Yankees to thank the fans that support them all year round and the fans are rarely disappointed.

But then there was a game to play against the Rays. And it was business as usual. Masahiro Tanaka started the game, and he knew that he carried the hopes of the team to pitch deep into the game, sparing an exhausted bullpen. And he complied with 113 pitches in 7 innings, giving up 8 hits, 3 runs, and just 5 strikeouts (which should sound like a lot, but it’s not because it’s Tanaka). Where Tanaka really struggled was the 2nd inning, which Tanaka later admitted to not being able to find his splitter. Those runs came as a solo home run in each of the 1st and 4th, and a pesky RBI single in the 2nd. But the Rays had nothing else to threaten the play, going into the bottom of the 4th with a 3-0 lead.

And thus the Yankees offense was lit in the 4th inning and they continued to score in every consecutive inning. With Brett Gardner on base, Mark Teixeira continued his hot streak behind the plate with a nice 2-run home run in the 4th. In the 5th, Ichiro Suzuki doubles and then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s ground-rule double. And suddenly the game is tied 3-3. But the Yankees aren’t done yet. Kelly Johnson is the one that pushes the Yankees into the lead in the 6th with a solo home run into the Yankees bullpen. In the 7th, Ellsbury singled, Gardner singled, Teixeira singled home Ellsbury, and then Alfonso Soriano’s sacrifice fly scored a sliding Gardner. (6-3 Yankees)

Dellin Betances came on in the 8th in relief of Tanaka and did what he does best — shut down the Rays. He has become one of the most consistent and reliable forces in the bullpen, and even being compared to some other Yankee greats that have passed through the pinstriped pen.

And into the 8th, the Yankees continued their offensive recharge. Roberts led off with a double and scored on Ichiro’s double. Ichiro moved to 3rd on a ground out, and Ellsbury walked and stole 2nd base, put both of them in place to do some more damage. Which they did as both speedy runners Ichiro and Ellsbury scored on Gardner’s single. And suddenly it was 9-3 Yankees.

Preston Claiborne worked a quick 1-2-3 9th inning to snap the losing streak the Yankees carried into May, and giving Tanaka got his 4th win of the season (he still has no losses). Despite that 2nd inning, it really was Tanaka’s game and he got the support he needed when he needed it from the players and their bats today. It’s enough that already people are pseudo-complaining on social media about why we can’t have Tanaka pitch for every game. Nice thought, but let’s save that for when we’re more bionic as a society and impervious to normal human fragility and exhaustion. (I may have been watching too many sci-fi movies lately.)

And roster moves: before today’s game, Chris Leroux was designated for assignment to make room for the signing and recalling of Alfredo Aceves from AAA. Aceves has had a good Spring and could be that needed emergency relief while the team adjusts to some of the roster injury updates.

Oh, and there’s still one more game left in this series against the Rays before they hit up the West Coast for a week. But then, even with the weather finally feeling like Spring, who wouldn’t want a week on the West Coast? Even if you have to play a couple of games…

Go Yankees!

 

Game 28: TB vs. NYY — The Rundown Game

Like I said yesterday, sometimes it’s a really boring game. And it was tonight… right up until the 8th inning, and then the game was anything but ordinary.

Facing the Rays for the first game of their weekend series, and only night game of the series (this comes into play later, I promise), it’s Vidal Nuno’s job to start the game. And if there was any hopes of giving the bullpen rest, it wasn’t going to be tonight. Nuno threw 80 pitches in 4.2 innings, allowing 5 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, and just 2 strikeouts. An RBI single in the 2nd inning got the ball rolling for the Rays. In the 4th, Ellsbury lost a fly ball in the twilight/stadium lights and that runner ended up at 3rd and would score on a single before another run would score on a sacrifice fly. And in the 5th, with 2 outs, a solo home run gave the Rays their first 4 runs of the game.

So the Yankees turned to Betances to do what he does best and shut them down through the rest of the 5th and into the 6th innings. Claiborne took the 7th and part of the 8th, before Thornton finished off the 8th. So far so good.

Now, in the mean time, the Yankees played catch-up offensively. In the 2nd, with Soriano on base with a single, Brian McCann smacks a 2-run home run. And in the 8th, the Yankees tie up the game with back-to-back solo home runs from Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano. The game is tied 4-4 going into the 9th inning.

So it’s David Robertson’s turn, but his 15 pitch 9th inning doesn’t go as planned. A lead-off single ends up at 3rd base after an error and a stolen base and then scores easily on another single. But the Yankees answer back in the bottom of the inning, Brian Roberts singles and ends up at 3rd on a ground out and stolen base (sound familiar?), only to score the tying run on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single. And into extra innings.

Kelley and Warren each took 2 innings a piece, keeping the Rays from doing much of anything at all, aside from a handful of singles. They were able to pitch their ways out of potential disaster, helping the Yankees continue on into the late evening hours.

The Yankees were also kept a little stymied for a few innings, but as the clock struck midnight and Friday became Saturday, the game got weirder and weirder. In the 12th inning, Ellsbury is on base with a single and Derek Jeter (who seemed to be having an off night tonight at the plate, going 0-for-7) is on base with a force attempt fielding error. And Carlos Beltran grounds into what can only be described as the oddest double play run down I’ve ever seen — 4-3-3-6-3-4-3-4-5-2 — getting Beltran out at 1st, Jeter in the rundown, Ellsbury in a rundown, Ellsbury out in the base path on the way home, and Jeter ends up at 3rd in the mean time. (Watch the clip as it’s one of those you should really see to understand.)

Yeah, and then there’s the 13th inning. The Yankees got a call overturned on a challenge that for some reason made the Rays manager felt like arguing, which according to the rules is an automatic ejection. So the Yankees had a giant train-sized hole of an opportunity in the bottom of the inning. McCann and Roberts each singled and advanced on Solarte’s ground out, partly because of another amusing rundown. Gardner’s ground out didn’t amount to much other than an extra out. So the pitcher intentionally walked Ellsbury to load the bases, and Jeter promptly grounds out to end the inning (like I said, it was a bad night for him at the plate).

And then on into the 14th inning, they went. Chris Leroux on the mound for the Yankees, and things just fell apart. A walk to the lead-off runner, who would steal 2nd and score on a single; a double scored another run; a single scored another run (a call that was upheld after review); an intentional walk; a single to score another run; and a single to score yet another run. And suddenly the Rays were up 10-5. Three outs later, ball game over (after 5 hours and 49 minutes), and it’s almost 1 am in New York. In just 12 hours, they will be playing another game right back in the Bronx.

As much as it would have been good to win this one, especially due to some very large missed opportunities, I just think everyone’s glad it was finally over. I mean, they do have to see each other again in just a few hours for batting practice.

Go Yankees!

Game 26: SEA vs. NYY — A very rainy, very boo-y Tuesday loss

I really do wish I was one of those people who was comfortable blaming the weather for why their team played miserably. I mean, it was a very cold, damp, rainy, messy night in the Bronx. Not that there were many people that braved the elements for a baseball game tonight, and those that were in attendance warmed themselves under bulky coats, plastic ponchos, and the occasional umbrella, while most roamed the Stadium’s many covered areas.

And there was a lot of booing tonight, and none of that had to do with the weather. A good majority of that was for the former Yankee Robinson Cano, having defected to the Mariners in the off-season. (By the way, Cano made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon last night to prepare himself and fans for the booing, and it’s hysterical.) Every time, he made a play, stepped up to bat, struck out, singled, whatever, there they were — booing. But like I said, it was just some die-hard fans in attendance tonight, and they acted how die-hard fans usually act, responding to what they see as acts of loyalty or betrayal. If Cano hadn’t been a huge part of the Yankee roster for so long, I don’t think fans would feel as betrayed. After all, you only “get booed if you’re good”. Nobody’s going to boo those players who flitted through the organization and didn’t have much impact on the team or perhaps left on good terms with the team and the fans (Swisher and Ibanez leap to mind).

But it wasn’t really the kind of tight game one might have hoped for in the wake of the player drama and the weather.

The Yankees struck first offensively. With 2 outs in the 2nd inning, Mark Teixeira smacked a solo home run. And Brian Roberts led the 3rd inning off with a walk, moved to 2nd on Brett Gardner’s single, and ended up at 3rd on Beltran’s fly out. He would then score on a throwing error by the Mariner’s catcher trying to get Gardner at 2nd. And as a last-ditch effort at offense in the 9th inning, Ichiro Suzuki singled, moved to 3rd on Roberts’ double, and scored on Gardner’s single.

But that wasn’t enough. The Yankees totaled just 3 runs on 8 hits, while the Mariners seemed to accumulate 6 runs off their 15 hits.

So CC Sabathia took the mound, 98 pitches, 5 innings (plus 2 batters in the 6th), 9 hits, 4 runs, 2 hit-by-pitch, and 6 strikeouts. Actually, Sabathia was decently sharp through his first 4 innings. And then he seemed to collapse in the 5th inning. The lead-off batter hit a single; it was originally ruled and out, challenged by the Mariners, and overturned as the runner was awarded a single. It would pay off for Seattle. Two singles and no outs later, the Mariners had the bases loaded before Sabathia finally struck out a batter. A ground out scored the Mariners’ first run, before a double pushed in 2 more runs and a single drove in one more.

After Sabathia allowed two runners on base in the 6th, Dellin Betances came on in relief and got out of the jam for the inning. In the 7th, with 2 outs, another Seattle runner scored broadening the Mariners’ lead. Despite 4 strikeouts over his 1.2 inning, Preston Claiborne was brought in to relieve Betances, but he promptly allowed 2 singles, one would score another run. Chris Leroux’s 9th inning kept Seattle from adding to the score, but the damage was done. By the end of the game, the Mariners won 6-3.

And in other bad news, Michael Pineda, currently on suspension for the NeckTar incident last week, was throwing simulated games down in Tampa when he felt a strain in his back. An MRI revealed a grade 1 strain of teres major muscle (the upper back/shoulder area), and they shut him down for 3-4 weeks. So, in addition to the remainder of his suspension, the Yankees are further without Pineda until end of May at the earliest.

Jacoby Ellsbury was scratched from the game tonight with soreness in his right hand, but he’s considered day-to-day as there isn’t anything broken or sprained or strained, just sore.

And it doesn’t look so good for tomorrow’s game as far as weather goes. So, I’m starting to think this whole night’s really just testing my level of positivity. So what can I say that’s positive… so there’s still so many games left to play in the season. A cliché, perhaps, but when you’re not feeling very positive, you’ll grasp at whatever positive-looking straws you can find. That, and if I really think about it, very little about tonight felt like I was watching the Yankees play to their true capacity. And that alone makes me feel a whole lot better, because if any time won’t settle for less-than standards, it’s the Yankees. Okay, and they’re still in 1st place in the AL East.

Go Yankees!

Game 24: LAA vs. NYY — 2 Balks and 2 career firsts

Today’s game was markedly better than whatever mess happened yesterday. The Angels were treated to a proper game against the Yankees, and the whole game was a great well-earned competition, matching pitching and batting, combining for an interesting game to watch.

Vidal Nuno got the start, now that he seems to be Nova’s replacement. He went just 72 pitches in 4.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, 3 runs, and 2 walks, striking out 4 batters. Those runs kind of book-ended Nuno’s outing. First in the 1st inning, he allowed a solo home run from Trout (the New Jersey native who grew up idolizing Jeter). Then in the 4th, with two runners on base, another run scores on a ground out and another on a double. And the Angels put 3 runs on the board under Nuno.

The Yankees turned to current bullpen golden boy Dellin Betances to start the bullpen shutout of the Angels, who have some very powerful hitters on their roster. Betances did not disappoint, finishing out the 5th and continuing into the 7th inning, allowing just one hit and one walk, striking out 3 Angels. Kelley, Thornton, and Robertson (who earned his 3rd save of the season) finished the game and delivered the Yankees the win.

The Yankees offense started in the 2nd inning. With two outs, they loaded the bases with a hit by pitch, single, and a walk. And then the Angels’ starter balked and Teixeira trotted on home, as Gardner and Roberts also advanced along the base path. Not the greatest way to score a run, but it tied up the game at that point. And it was John Ryan Murphy’s single that scored both Gardner and Roberts and pushed the Yankees up 3-1.

Then in the 5th, with the score tied at 3-3, Murphy’s first career solo home run pushed the Yankees ahead 4-3, and it was a very strong shot into the left-center field seats. It also ended up giving Betances his first career win. Apparently, to have a rookie batter hit his first career home run and a rookie pitcher get his first career win was back in 1947.

So the Yankees won today’s game 4-3.

And there were 2 balks in the game today — one by the Angels to score a run, and another by Betances. Honestly, I didn’t notice either balk, even on replays, as they were apparently subtle and only obvious to umpires on the lookout for such slight movement. Fortunately, Betances’ balk didn’t actually affect much, but it was an amusing addition to today’s game. Again, having 2 called balks in a game is also something that’s rare.

Brett Gardner took a nasty pitch off his left foot, and though x-rays are negative, he may be out a game or two to rest the swelling and obvious pain one can get from a 94 mph fast ball to the foot.

Pitching roster moves: The Yankees optioned Shane Greene to AAA, signed Chris Leroux up from AAA, and unconditionally released Nik Turley. And prospect Jose Campos underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday in New York.

Now, about competition… if you’ve followed my blog for a while (or know me personally), I think you’ll know that I really don’t like games that aren’t competitive. This includes blowout games (like yesterday), walked-in runs (or even balk-forced runs), tied game, sloppy defense or pitching that hands over plays or games to the opposing teams, and the like. Sports, at least in my mind, are meant to be competitive, meant to be played until there is one winner, meant to be a tight back-and-forth outing, meant to be edgy and edge-of-your-seat, meant to be gritty and messy. I get bored watching uncompetitive sports or games that turn into uncompetitive sports by losing that edge.

Sports evolved from war games, training, and preparation for an army to develop, hone, and maintain their battle skills. The push and drive to succeed and win would flood warriors with adrenaline, something that only grew with intensity as audiences began gathering to watch them. (Okay, so I watched Gladiator again last night.) Keeping that in mind, sports then should evoke adrenaline from both its players and its audience. No competition, no adrenaline, and what’s the point of calling it a sport?

Competition leads to great games and wins and excellence. All of which define the Yankee standards as we know them.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 31: NYY vs. TOR — 5th inning reversal of fortunes

Well, there was good news, a very large chunk of bad news, then some good news, and an unfortunate end to today’s story in the Yankees’ game against Toronto.

The Yankees really gave a beating to Toronto’s starter for the first 3 innings. In the 1st, Derek Jeter walked, Carlos Beltran singled, Alfonso Soriano singled to load the bases, and Kelly Johnson’s single scored Jeter and Beltran. So the Yankees were up 2-0. Then in the 2nd, Brian Roberts’ lead off single advances him all the way to 3rd on a throwing error and then scores on Dean Anna’s double. Brett Gardner walked, Jeter singled to load the bases, and Beltran’s double scored Anna and Gardner. And Jeter scored on Soriano’s sacrifice fly. So the Yankees were up 6-0 in the 2nd inning.

Meanwhile, Chris Leroux was busy at work on the mound on his first start of the Spring. In the bottom of the 2nd, his first slip was to allow a solo home run. And then he seemed to get nicked by a couple of line drives in the 3rd, which certainly affected his performance (though he seemed physically okay, just a little bruised), allowing 4 singles, one that scored an additional run for the Blue Jays. But still the Yankees were up 6-2 going into the 4th inning.

Pitchers Daley and Lewis split the 4th inning and kept the Yankees lead solidly intact. Things were looking up indeed, and the usually heated (albeit a little chilly today due to the recent cold front) Canadians seemed quite subdued.

But like I said in the beginning, a very large chunk of bad news was about to happen in the bottom of the 5th. When 3 different pitchers decided to hand over the game to 12 Toronto batters. Lewis was up first, giving up a double and an RBI single. (6-3 Yankees)

So the Yankees turned to Preston Claiborne, who had a really stellar 2013, but has really struggled this Spring. Today was no exception. He promptly gave up a double and loaded the bases with a hit-by-pitch. A single then scored 2 runs, and a ground-rule double scored another, and a walk loaded the bases once again, before a single scored 2 more runs. (8-6 Toronto)

Oh, and there were still no outs. So mercifully, they decided to go with another pitcher, bringing in Jim Miller. A sacrifice fly scored another run. The next batter flied out. A fluke double scored another runner, before another fly out got that final long-awaited out of the half-inning. And it was 10-6 Toronto, due to the 8 runs scored in that single inning. (If you are feeling a little curious, you can peruse some of the videos of Toronto beating up on the Yankees today here.)

Fortunately (here’s the next piece of good news), the combination of Betances, Burawa, and Tateyama in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings (respectively) and the tight defense of the “replacements” kept the Blue Jays from adding to their score, though they threatened. Unfortunately, the deficit was too much for the Yankees to overcome, so they kept planted at that 10-6 loss (the bad news again) for the rest of what felt like a very long game (though it was still under that 3 hour standard).

I expect the last round of cuts and the final 40- and 25- man rosters within the next couple of days, and it’s going to be interesting to see where everyone I’ve been watching ends up. (Perhaps, I’ll do a “Ones to Watch” wrap-up with where they’ll be starting their 2014 season.)

In odd news, Fortune released its list of 50 most influential leaders, with names like Pope Francis (#1) and the Dali Lama (#9), Warren Buffet (#4) and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos (#10), Bill Clinton (#5) and Michael Bloomberg (#15). Of course, the big surprise (and why I might talk about it on this particular blog) is who placed #11 — Yankees Captain Derek Jeter. On a list with spiritual, political, academic, and financial leaders, it’s both odd and fascinating that someone like Jeter would make the list. Of course, Yankees have known for years how important his leadership is to the team and to the city and those affected by his foundation, and there are a handful of important sports coaches on the list. But I take this a sign for great things to come in the future from Jeter.

Plus, it helped me end this post on an uplifting, positive note. Congrats to the Captain (and indirectly the Yankees)!

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 12: NYY vs. HOU — 15 runs flip-flop through the score

15 runs crossed the plate in Kissimmee between the Yankees and the Astros. In what is clearly one of the best weekends already this Spring (serious, can we bottle up today’s weather and save it forever?), a clear, cool day played host to some very interesting plays and a 3 hour, 15 minute game of baseball.

Ivan Nova started things off for the Yankees, but had a rather rough time of it today. He allowed 8 hits and 3 runs in his 4 innings, but also got 5 strikeouts. Right in the 1st inning, back-to-back singles put runners on the corner that scored on a really nice double, putting the Astros in the lead quickly 2-0. Plus Cervelli’s quick reflexes threw out a runner at 2nd, trying to score on a strikeout in the bottom of that inning.

The Yankees weren’t going to sit on that very long and answered with their own 2 runs in the 2nd. Dean Anna singled and then scored when Scott Sizemore ended up at 2nd on a throwing error. Then Sizemore tied up the game on Mason Williams’ double. So in the bottom of that inning, we dealt with our first replay review. After a single, the next Astros’ batter tried to bunt and make it to 1st, which is initially called out; the Astros’ appealed, the play was reviewed, and the call upheld. It did look like Nunez (who was covering first on the bunt) had to make an extra stretch for the bag, but he clearly tagged it before the runner did. The next batter singles home that first runner, and the Astros are up 3-2.

But the back-and-forth continues into the 3rd inning. Mark Teixeira, continuing to show signs of his pre-injury self, doubled, and then Kelly Johnson smacked a solid 2-run home run into the palm trees behind the right field fence. So the score flipped in the Yankees’ favor 4-3. (The bottom of the 3rd was Nova’s strongest inning, facing just 3 batters, striking out 2 of them.)

And we flip-flop the score again in the 5th, with Manny Banuelos pitching, his Spring debut and his first outing since his surgery and rehab began 2 years ago. The Astros batters seemed to like his pitching, though. A double and a walk set the stage for a 3-run homer, and the Astros were suddenly up 6-4. Two outs later, Chase Whitley replaced Banuelos (who was overall pretty glad to be back on the mound for real, despite the outcome) and got that last out in the 5th. Lucky for Whitley, the Yankees came storming back in the 6th, so he walked home (or rather rode the bus home) with the win today.

Loading the bases quickly in the 6th, with no outs, Anna singles, Sizemore walks, and Almonte singles. Williams’ sacrifice fly scored Anna (score: 6-5 Astros). Then Brett Gardner singled, scoring Sizemore and Almonte, and because of a really terrible throwing error (the center fielder somehow threw the ball into the Astros’ dugout), Gardner ended up at 3rd (score: 7-6 Yankees). But they left him stranded there. Cabral pitched the bottom of the 6th cleanly, keeping that lead.

But the Yankees weren’t done yet. In the 7th, with one out, Romine and Solarte each singled and ended up at the corners. Romine scored on Zelous Wheeler’s bloop single (8-6 Yankees). Then Ramon Flores only reached safely on a fielder’s choice, and Solarte scored the final Yankees run (9-6 Yankees), and I still can’t figure out why the Astros didn’t try for the play at home first. (No, really, someone needs to explain why they kept throwing the ball around without tagging a base or a runner.)

Cabral walked a batter in the 7th before Herndon finished the inning. Lewis took the 8th and continued keeping that Yankee lead safe, and despite allowing a double and a single in the 9th, Chris Leroux ended up with a save because of a nice double play between Corban Joseph (at 1st) and Yangervis Solarte (at 2nd), both of whom are proving to be really fun to watch play baseball.

So the Yankees hit the beginning of rush hour traffic outside Orlando (fortunately, as it’s Saturday, it was more Disney traffic than actually city traffic) with a win today — 9-6 Yankees. Seriously though, 15 runs is a lot of runs in one game. But a win is good news, no matter how it happens. It’s already shaping up to be a pretty great Spring, and I guess I’m hoping that translates as a good omen for a great 2014. Fingers crossed for #28 this October. It’s a long season, but it’s going to be something special.

Go Yankees!