Today’s game in Clearwater was a bit of a reversal of fortunes for the Yankees, though not with the strong show from the boys across the bay as it was yesterday. The Phillies used their home opener to please their home crowd with a rollercoaster game and walk-off celebration.
Adam Warren got the start for the Yankees today and made a good case for the Opening Day roster with his 8-pitch 2nd inning and clean sheet in today’s 2-inning outing. Heller and Holder also kept things clean during their 7th and 8th innings, respectively. But other Yankee pitchers weren’t as lucky.
Not that the Phillies’ pitching staff were all that clean in their show today. The Yankees got on the board first in the 3rd. Prospect Gleyber Torres kicked off the inning with a double, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on the first of two wild pitches this afternoon.
The Phillies came back to tie up the game in the bottom of that inning. With 1 out and a single, another batter reached base safely on a throwing error, and both runners ended up in scoring position. A ground out easily scored the tying run. The Phillies broke the tie in the bottom of the 4th with a solo shot over the left field fence.
That didn’t last long because the Yankees answered back in the 5th. With 1 out, Miguel Andujar and Torres were in scoring position due to a single and double before both scored on a really messy wild pitch to put the Yankees back in the lead.
The Phillies came back strong in the bottom of the 6th putting runners in the corners with singles. But then a double play still scored the tying run. The next batter hit an inside-the-park home run to push the Phillies back in the lead before the next player added an insurance run. To be fair, the ball rolled under the outfield fence and was considered a dead ball, but then the outfielder was told they could see it and reached for it. As soon as he did that, it became a live ball again, and the runner scored. It seems a little wonky to me. But I guess they’re treating it like the ivy wall at Wrigley or something. (Let’s be perfectly clear here though: Spectrum Field is definitely no Wrigley.)
Into the 8th inning, the Yankees came crawling back. With 1 out, Wade walked, moved to 2nd on a ground out, and then scored on Deglan’s single. And in the 9th, Choi hit a 2-out double and then tied the game up on Donovan Solano’s single.
Then, the 7000 fans in red all over Spectrum Field got their final wish in the bottom of the 9th. With 1 out, a batter doubled and then (his pinch-runner) scored on a walk-off single.
Final score: 6-5 Phillies.
Well, if anything, we can definitely call today’s game more of a typical Spring Training game. It had its moments of greatness mixed in with a lot of messy. And the score was basically a good reflection of the day.
The schedule for the Yankees this Spring is a bit repetitive really. To cut down on bus travel, the Yankees won’t be playing all of the teams that play in the Grapefruit League. So, we’ll be seeing many of the same teams over the next five weeks. That means: no Marlins, Cardinals, Astros, Nationals, Twins, or Mets. And only a game (or two) from those a bit further: Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, Pirates, and Braves.
It makes me a little sad actually. Not just for missing seeing those teams, but because part of the experience for these players is the bus ride experience to away games. It’s a bonding time, a time for memories to be made, and yes, it should be uncomfortable. It’s not a limo or private jet. It’s part of the experience of being a ball player.
Okay, and yes, I will miss seeing the other teams during Spring Training.