Game 16: MIA vs. NYY — Nearly frozen out in the Bronx

After last night’s rout, the Yankees were looking for a quick end to this short series on an upswing. But it was not to be, and the Yankees return to being even in the standings (8-8 win-loss ratio) by the end of tonight’s game. Masahiro Tanaka was not having a good night in his start against the Marlins. In his 5 innings, he threw 83 pitches, but gave up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 7 runs (6 earned), striking out 5 Miami batters. He just had trouble finding outs in some of his innings, no thanks to the sloppy defense (only 2 errors, and that was clearly a scorer being generous).

In the 1st, he gave up a single, a walk, an RBI single, and a single to load up the bases before a throwing error kept the bases loaded and scored another run. The next batter hit into a double play (the first of 3 tonight: #2, #3), finally recording an out in the game. A single led-off the 2nd inning, and he ended up at 2nd on a missed catch error trying to get the out at 1st. A ground out moved that runner to 3rd, and a single then scored him. And a 2-out single in the 5th moved to 2nd on a walk before both runners would score as part of a big 3-run home run to just pack in the runs for the Marlins.

After Tanaka, the Yankees turned to recently recalled (see below) Luis Cessa, who set down the Marlins for the 6th and 7th innings. Looking to extend his outing, Cessa came out for the 8th but immediately started struggling. He gave up a single, a wild pitch, a walk, and an RBI single with no outs before he admitted his injury. The Yankees turned to Chad Green to get out of the jam of runners on the corners. Green gave up a sacrifice fly to score the lead runner, but then buckled down to get out of the 8th without further damage. Robertson came on to close out the game in the 9th, with a 14-pitch, 3-strikeout flawless inning.

Meanwhile, the Yankees batters were just stymied against the Marlins’ pitchers. While they certainly racked up the walks — 5 off the starter, 7 in total — they didn’t get an actual hit until Miguel Andujar’s double in the 5th inning. Beyond that, they only got 4 total hits all night. They loaded up the bases in the 6th, but ended up striking out of the inning. They just weren’t hitting or hitting well tonight at all.

In fact, the only reason they got on the board at all was Andujar’s 2-out solo home run (his 1st career MLB homer, by the way) into the left field seats in the 9th inning. Andujar had an absolutely stellar night himself, going 2-for-4, including his 1st career home run. None of that amazingness rubbed off on any of his teammates though, and that’s tough at the end of the day.

Final score: 9-1 Marlins, they split this series 1-1

Roster moves: before tonight’s game, the Yankees sent pitcher Tommy Kahnle to the DL with right shoulder tendonitis, retroactive to Monday. In his spot on the roster, the Yankees recalled Luis Cessa, but now he’s headed to the DL with that oblique strain injury in the 8th.

Next up: the Yankees have an off-day tomorrow, which is a shame in a way because it’s going to be a beautiful day in the City. (Enjoy your off-day, guys!) On Thursday, they begin their 4-game weekend series against the visiting Blue Jays. And except for Thursday, the rest of the weekend looks amazing for ball games. I don’t know about you, but I’m already over all this weird April weather and its effect on the games and schedule.

Go Yankees!

Game 15: MIA vs. NYY — #SevySharp in rout

Detroit was rather a disappointing weekend in an unusual way. After their victory on Friday night, the freezing rain and continuous downpour forced Saturday afternoon’s game to be rescheduled to Sunday for a double-header. But then the weather continued to sour and flood the field at Comerica Park. So, the double-header was then rescheduled for their next overlapping free day — June 4. Saturday’s makeup game will be recognized as the first game, and Sunday’s makeup game (including honoring the 71st anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s rookie season) will be the night game.

Instead, the Yankees headed back home to face off against the visiting Marlins starting tonight for a quick 2-game micro-series. And no, a certain minority owner and new executive was not and will not be present for the series. Not that he’d want to see how his team did in tonight’s game. Those in the Steinbrenner box had no such problems tonight.

Luis Severino was dominant in his start tonight, throwing 86 pitches in his 6 scoreless innings, giving up just 1 hit and 1 walk, striking out 8 Miami batters. Severino ended up with his 3rd win already this season. But his next relievers got into a couple of jams and then proved they were capable of getting out them relatively unscathed.

In the 7th, Adam Warren gave up 2 singles and a walk to load up the bases before getting that third out to escape the inning. Chasen Shreve came on for the 8th and his first batter made it safely to base on a fielding error, before loading up the bases with a single and a walk with 1 out. A force out at 2nd allowed that lead runner to score an unearned run. Another walk loaded the bases again, but Shreve got a fly out to end the threat. And that would be the only run the Marlins would score tonight — an unearned run. Dellin Betances closed out the 9th inning, keeping the Marlins to that lone run.

Meanwhile, (and how do I say this nicely?) the Marlins pitching and defense left much to be desired tonight. In the 1st, the Yankees quickly loaded up the bases with Gardner’s lead-off single and 2 walks to Judge and Stanton. Gary Sanchez’s 1-out single kept the bases loaded but scored Gardner. Then Tyler Austin worked a 2-out walk to walk in Judge. Aaron Judge later hit a big 2-out solo home run in the 2nd to add to the score.

In the 3rd, Gregorius led-off with a walk and moved to 2nd on Sanchez’s single before they both scored on Aaron Hicks’ double. After Andujar walked, the Marlins decided their poor starter had enough and went to their bullpen. A quick double play made them think they made the right decision. But then the Yankees came back strong again in the 4th. With 2 outs, Stanton was hit by a pitch and then scored as part of Didi Gregorius’ 2-run home run to add more to the Yankees’ growing lead.

Tyler Austin led-off the 5th with a double and then scored on Miguel Andujar’s double. Torreyes’ single and Gardner’s walk loaded up the bases (with no outs), and Judge’s single scored Andujar. After finally getting 2 outs, Sanchez hit a long single to score the speedy Torreyes and Gardner. And in the 7th, Didi Gregorius hit his 2nd homer of the game, a 1-out solo shot into the Yankees’ bullpen to cap off the Yankees’ rout of the Marlins in Bronx Bomber fashion.

It is worth noting that of the 15 total hits and 8 walks, every Yankees starting player tonight made it on base, most more than once and most helping make that 12 run score possible.

Final score: 12-1 Yankees

That home run in the 2nd was Aaron Judge’s 60th career home run. He is the fastest player to ever reach 60 homers, which he did in 197 games. He supplants Mark McGwire who reached 60 homers in 202 games with the Athletics in 1987-1988. He has also hit safely in 17 games, a continuous streak that is worth watching early this season.

Roster moves (warming up the Scranton Shuttle): the Yankees optioned pitcher Luis Cessa back and sent outfielder Shane Robinson outright to AAA Scranton. Jace Peterson was designated for assignment and elected free agency at the end of the waiting period rather than being outrighted back to the minors, and the gamble was worth it because the Yankees re-signed him and added him to the roster prior to tonight’s game.

Injury updates: Greg Bird is recovering well from his ankle surgery, expecting to be back late May or early June. And Jacoby Ellsbury’s oblique injury is healed, and his hip soreness is healing thanks to treatments and cortisone injections. But plantar fasciitis (often in response to overuse of the foot or overstressing the arch) is plaguing him now. Let me just say, that makes basic things like running and walking rather difficult.

Brandon Drury is still dealing with his migraine issues with anti-inflammatories and specialists. Migraine sufferers learn to deal with a number of debilitating symptoms, and Drury’s blurry vision is probably his worst. He even admitted to stepping into the batter’s box in previous seasons with blurry vision due to his migraines, and if you’ve ever done even batting cages, you can imagine that trying to hit a ball traveling 90+ mph with blurry vision and a pounding headache doesn’t exactly help matters.

One more game against the Marlins before an off-day and then a 4-game series against the Blue Jays and a 4-game series against the Twins for this long 10-game (and 1 off-day) home stand. And tonight was a pretty good start.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 23: MIA vs. NYY — #SevySharp, #ElGary, #FloridaIsHot

Okay, two things made this game a little weird. First, it was easily the warmest game so far this Spring. (Finger crossed for “ever this Spring”.) So when the sun finally found shade behind some clouds, the miserably sweaty sea of people all collectively sighed in appreciation along with some cheers. And second, unlike most games, there was only a handful of opposing fans. Usually, there’s a decent contingency of fans present to cheer on the visiting teams, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of local love for Miami today.

Luis Severino got the start against the visiting Marlins and mostly had a pretty good day. Despite allowing 7 hits, he still got 7 strikeouts in his 5 innings. But he really breezed through his first 3 innings (only giving up 2 hits), a lead-off solo shot in the 4th broke his scoreless streak. And in the 5th, with 1 out, he gave up consecutive singles to put runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly scored one run, and a double the other.

Jonathan Holder came on for a flawless 6th inning and found a spot of trouble in the 7th. A lead-off double in the 7th moved to 3rd on a wild pitch and then scored 2 outs later on a single. Chasen Shreve came on to finish off the inning, keeping the Marlins from adding to their score. Wade LeBlanc came on for a near-perfect 2 innings to close out the game, save a 2-out solo home run in the 8th (to Alex Rodriguez’s young nephew, by the way).

It’s worth noting that the Yankee pitching staff earned a whopping 15 strikeouts today, despite giving up 11 total hits. On the other side of things, the Yankee batters only got 5 strikeouts (and 11 hits and 4 walks), which may have been the difference of the game. The Yankee batters started out big in the 1st inning with Gardner’s lead-off single, complete with a “superman slide” into the base to beat the tag. He then stole 2nd and scored as part of Greg Bird’s monster 1-out 2-run home run. Stanton worked a walk but was out at 2nd as Sanchez hit into a fielder’s choice (or failed double play). Gregorius singled, and the Neil Walker got his first hit in pinstripes — a nice double to split the outfielders and scored both Sanchez and Gregorius to add to the Yankees’ early lead.

Gary Sanchez hit a 2-out solo home run in the 3rd to add another run, his 4th of the season. In the 6th, Stanton worked another walk, Gregorius hit a double, and Peterson worked a walk to load up the bases. Brandon Drury then hit a long single and scored Stanton and Gregorius. Gardner led-off the 7th with a single and was pinch-run by Crawford. Crawford moved to 2nd on Gittens’ 1-out walk and then scored on Stanton’s long single to cap off the Yankees’ scoring.

Final score: 8-5 Yankees

One to Watch: again, we’re at the stage of Spring Training when it’s difficult to isolate a single farm system guy to notice because they don’t really get much playing time. So I’m going to notice Rashad Crawford. Now, Crawford did hustle it around the bases, pinch-running for Gardner in the 7th. Crawford was something to watch last year, but he hasn’t had much playing time this year to show off his skills. His season batting average dipped a little last year after his promotion to AA Trenton, but that can be great for a competitive athlete, to push himself to do better than last season until you can take it to the next level. A good lesson for all of us, really.

Next up: The Yankees host the Rays again. CC Sabathia will start tomorrow night’s game, as the Yankees continue to hone their final roster and prepare for the opening series in Toronto in about 10 days.

Roster moves: before the game, the Yankees sent a couple of the players we’ve been talking about this Spring to minor league camp. Estevan Florial was reassigned to the camp, and Miguel Andujar was optioned to AAA Scranton. That means that Andujar will not be making the starting roster, but will likely be the first one they call up when something happens. Andujar will get to play daily and continue his skills to be ready for the day they tell him to hop a plane to the Bronx.

About 24 minutes after they sent Andujar down, the Yankees were presenting him with a special award. Every year, the Yankees award the Kevin Lawn Award for the minor league players in their farm system that were truly outstanding the previous year. For 2017, they named Andujar as “Player of the Year” and Domingo Acevedo as “Pitcher of the Year”.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 16: NYY vs. MIA — Mixed results on the opposite coast

An interesting mix of 7,648 Yankee, Marlin, and Jeter fans showed up for this afternoon’s match-up between the two team in Jupiter, Florida (about 3 hours southeast of Tampa, just north of West Palm Beach). The team actually traveled south following yesterday’s game, so former Yankee Starlin Castro (and current Marlins 2nd baseman) took some of his former teammates out to dinner (including Sanchez, Torres, and Florial) to catch up. In other words, it was a powerful Yankee (and post-Yankee) presence, but that didn’t stop the Yankees from faltering at first.

Recently named the official 5th starter, Jordan Montgomery certainly had a less than ideal start today. In the 2nd, he gave up a 1-out walk and a 2-out single before they both scored on a double. And in the 3rd, with 1 out, he gave up another walk and single. Things just weren’t looking up for him today. So the Yankees turned to reliever Brady Lail, who promptly gave up a 3-run home run to add to the Marlins’ early lead. Lail, however, had better luck with a scoreless 4th inning.

He handed the game over in the 5th to Wade LeBlanc, who’s had mixed results this Spring and once again today. After 2 outs, he gave up a double and a 2-run home run to further the Marlins’ lead. But LeBlanc had a perfect 6th inning to bounce back and set the tone for the rest of the pitchers. Carroll and Harvey each had a scoreless inning to close out the game for the Yankees. Yankee pitchers racked up 11 total strikeouts, but it was those 11 allowed hits and 4 walks that became the determining factor.

But it wasn’t like the Yankees didn’t make an effort. The had their first real opportunity in the 4th, with consecutive singles by Bird and Sanchez and a passed ball that put them in scoring position. Didi Gregorius’ ground out scored Bird and moved Sanchez to 3rd. Sanchez then scored on Miguel Andujar’s sacrifice fly.

In the 6th, with 1 out, Sanchez made it safely to 1st on a fielding error and was replaced by Higashioka. Not that a speedier runner was necessary as Didi Gregorius decided to rack up more RBIs this Spring with a big 2-run home run over the center field fence. Andujar’s beautiful triple went wasted with 2 quick outs to quell the Yankees’ attempts to chip away at the Marlins’ lead. Aaron Judge made one more effort in the 7th with a huge 2-out solo home run. It went so far over the left field fence that it landed on the balcony of the Marlins’ executive offices.

Final score: 7-5 Marlins

Next up: the Yankees host the Twins for an evening matchup in Tampa. Tanaka is scheduled to face off a former Yankee pitcher, and Tanaka really needs a better start than last time.

Someone pointed out that former Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton was oddly absent from this key game. Comparing it to Jeter’s obvious presence before the game and during the game from the owner’s suite. I didn’t really think either instance was that odd. First, it’s pretty common that the bigger stars or veterans often skip the longer bus trips. Like you might see Sabathia and Gardner on the 30-minute trip to Clearwater (Phillies) or Dunedin (Blue Jays) or Lakeland (Tigers) or even the hour trip to Bradenton (Pirates) or Sarasota (Orioles). But very rarely will they make the longer trips. It’s part of the perk of their status on the team not to have to sit through an uncomfortable bus ride (yes, even those super luxury buses aren’t really comfortable for hours on end).

And to point out the obvious, Jeter is part of the ownership group that runs things down in Miami (or Jupiter for the Spring) and runs the baseball operations part of things. So why would he not be at the home games to watch how the team he invested a ton of money in is doing? You don’t have to look very hard during Yankees’ Spring Training to see one of the Yankees’ owners (often Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal in the owners’ box by the dugout). I suppose people are just getting used to the fact that a former player they used to cheer has moved from pinstripes on the field to a black short-sleeved shirt and pants in a cushy suite chair. Add in that it’s a whole different team, and the feelings get messed with on a different level.

In baseball, you get used to seeing players come and go thanks to trades, free agency, big signings, retirements, and rookie promotions. I mentioned to a friend at the game yesterday that there were players on the Mets that I liked as humans (and I think I could say that about every team), but until they wore pinstripes, they will just be a good guy in the wrong uniform.

It’s why I’ll remain with this simple tagline…

Go Yankees!

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

2017 All-Star Game: Millennial take-over

For a city so synonymous with aging Boomers and the height of a young Gen-X, it seems like it got a bit of a makeover, filled with Millennial who weren’t even born while iconic Miami-based shows like Miami Vice (1984-1990) were still on the air. Well, maybe a few during the run of Golden Girls (1985-1992), but that would be generally less than ideal comparison for a group of competitive 20-something young ball players. They would probably prefer shows like the more recent action spy show Burn Notice (2007-2013) which was sometimes referred to by fans as the 21st century version of Miami Vice (but without Don Johnson’s floppy hair and those hideous pastel suits on the lead heroes).

So it was the National League (and their reserves) against the American League (and their reserves) to face off for the 88th All-Star Game. And despite the ridiculous show of power 8 key players put on last night, tonight’s game was a pitcher’s game from the start to finish. Each team put up 9 pitchers who each threw about 15 pitches per inning and struck out a total of 22 batters overall.

But it wasn’t like the batters weren’t hitting, as they racked up 17 total hits (and 6 walks) over the game, but they just weren’t exactly given much chance to do much with those hits thanks to the defense. Again, it was an All-Star Game, and for the first time in a really long time, it felt like both teams were fairly evenly matched in every aspect of the game — pitching, batting, base-running, and defense. And tonight’s game proved that.

No one got close to scoring until the 5th inning with the AL up at bat. With 2 outs, Schoop (Orioles) doubled and then scored on Sano’s (Twins) single. A nice bit of redemption for the power-hitter after falling short to Judge last night, responsible for the first run scored of the night. The National League answered back in the 6th when their veteran catcher Molina (Cardinals) hit a long home run into the corner of the AL bullpen to tie up the game.

And the game ended up being played into extra innings thanks to all those aptly named all-star players. So when NL manager Joe Maddon sent in his lone Cubs pitcher and closer Davis, he unfortunately didn’t count on Cano (Mariners) liking the third pitch, sending it into the AL bullpen for the winning home run.

Only fittingly so, AL interim manager Brad Mills (filling in for a recovering Terry Francona, who made an “appearance” in the AL clubhouse) sent in his own closer Miller (Indians) who got out of the 10th inning and saved the game for the AL with a final strikeout.

Final score: 2-1 in 10 innings, American League over National League

Robinson Cano, of course, got the All-Star Game MVP award thanks to that 10th inning, game-winning homer. And after accepting the glass bat trophy, he was asked to choose between a red Chevy Colorado pickup truck and a special Transformers edition blue Chevy Corvette. Cano wisely chose the Corvette.

Okay, Yankee Universe, you’re wondering how our 5 All-Stars did. Aaron Judge started the game in right field and batted third in the lineup, but he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Judge later admitted he was a bit tired after last night’s Derby and nervous and excited about the game tonight. Gary Sanchez came on for the second half of the game as the back-up catcher and ended up batting 8th, and he went 0-for-2 with a strikeout. Starlin Castro was present but unable to play due to his lingering wrist injury, so he spent time in the dugout cheering on his teammates and the American League.

In pitching, Dellin Betances showed the world what it felt like when he wanted to throw in some drama in the 3rd. He gave up a lead-off single, then struck out 2 batters, a wild pitch moved the runner to 2nd before he walked the batter, another wild pitch moved runners to scoring position, another walk loaded up the bases (and had everyone but Yankee Universe biting their nails), and a dribbling ground out ended the threat and the inning, getting Betances out of the jam… as usual.

Luis Severino would have pitched in the 11th inning had the NL tied up the game, and while he was disappointed not to see any play time in Miami, he really just wanted to see the AL win the game. Wish granted.

It is worth noting that the All-Star Game no longer counts for much of anything in the long-run more than bragging rights. As of this year, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the players and the league, the home field advantage goes to the team that has the best record between the AL and NL champions (which was always a much better idea). Full disclosure: the players of the winning ASG team do get a $20,000 bonus check; so I guess it’s a bit more personal than bragging rights.

Okay, the millennial invasion of Miami was never more apparent than at what became one of the most talked about moments in the game. Mariner’s designated hitter (and one of the oldest guys, on either roster) Nelson Cruz came up to bat in the 6th innings and walked over to the home plate umpire Joe West and asked for a picture with him as he pulled out his phone from his back pocket. NL (and Cardinals) catcher Yadier Molina (also one of the older players) took the picture for Cruz as West seemed both confused and amused at the concept. While not technically a selfie, it went around the internet quickly that Cruz wanted a selfie with West (who is just called his 5000th game last week and is often one of the least liked umpires in the business, which may explain Cruz calling him a “legend”).

In a touching tribute before the game tonight, the league honored Latin-American baseball legends and Hall of Famers in an on-field ceremony — Roberto Alomar, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez, Tony Perez, Ivan Rodriguez (who was part of the 2003 Marlins’ championship team), and the late Roberto Clemente (who was represented by his wife Vera). Then, they all threw out the ceremonial first pitch to current All-Star players of Latin-American birth. It was a great way to “pass the torch”, as it were.

We’re back after a couple of days rest in Fenway to restart the season with the rivalry series in Boston on Friday. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 33: NYY vs. MIA — And it’s off to the Bronx

The Yankees played their final Spring Game in Miami this afternoon. And all I can say is I’m glad the pre-season is over. (I’ll be doing a Spring wrap-up tomorrow night in preparation for the start of the regular season this Monday.)

In their final game, the Yankees started things off with Jacoby Ellsbury’s lead-off solo home run to right field for an easy run to start the game. Unfortunately, that is the extent of the Yankees’ run-scoring today. Not that the Marlins were any better in actuality.

Luis Severino got the start, a rather rocky start. Well, a rocky start for Severino, and he still manages to strike out 6 Marlin’s batters in 5 innings. Anyway, he gave up 3 hits, a walk, and 2 runs (though just 1 was earned). In the 1st, a single, a walk, and a ground out put runners in scoring position, and a sacrifice fly scored a run to tie up the game. In the 3rd, a batter reached on a throwing error and wound up scoring on a 2-out single a little later.

And that was the grand total of scoring from either team today. The Marlins rotated through their bullpen keeping the Yankees from doing much — just 4 allowed hits and a walk, striking out 6 Yankee batters. And the Yankees were about even with their bullpen display — 3 allowed hits, 4 walks, and a solid 10 total strikeouts. Chapman, Miller, Yates, and Barbato threw the last 4 innings for the Yankees, keeping the Marlins off the bases (save a few stragglers) and keeping the Yankees within 1-run and anticipating the Yankees offense would pick up at some point. It did not.

Final score: 2-1 Marlins.

Roster update: the Yankees traded Carlos Corporan to the Rays for cash considerations. Of course, the general consensus was a groan because he got traded to a division rival and not say San Diego where the Yankees won’t have to face his solid defense on a semi-regular basis. Which is a really great compliment to the catcher. Best of luck!

And that was Andrew Miller who got some pitching work in today, despite the chipped bone in his catching hand. People have dubbed him quite the “gamer” for playing through, but really, what else could he do? He can still pitch. (Clearly.) So game on, gamer.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: once again, no broadcast = no video highlights. Wasn’t really a highlight-worthy game, so no worries! Enjoy your weekend!}

Spring Game 32: NYY vs. MIA — No foolin’… Is it April 4th yet?

The Yankees are in Miami for a weekend of final games before the season officially begins on Monday. They played a game tonight and then will face the Marlins again tomorrow afternoon.

Nathan Eovaldi got his last start of the Spring tonight against Miami, and despite getting fairly roughed up by the Marlins’ batters, he managed to keep them to a single run scored. Not exactly “Nasty Nate” stuff, but depending on that trusty defense certainly worked in his favor tonight. He gave up 7 hits and 4 walks, striking out just 3 batters into the 6th inning. A bit of a rough adieu to this Spring for him.

Actually, Eovaldi kept the Marlins scoreless until his last inning, the 6th. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, then to 3rd on a single, and then scored on yet another single. A 4th allowed walk in his outing called an end to Eovaldi’s night, with the bases loaded and just 1 out on the board. So who do you call? Dellin Betances, of course. Betances promptly got the next batter to fly out to left field to a waiting Hicks who fired the ball home to a waiting Romine who got the guy trying to score. See, there’s that trusty defense.

Ever reliable Chasen Shreve threw his worst inning of the Spring (a hit and a walk allowed) in the 7th and still got out of the inning without a Marlin scoring or doing any further damage. Then Luis Cessa likewise threw his worst inning this Spring and wound up (by luck of statistics) earning the win for tonight’s game. Cessa’s 8th inning  started by him loading the bases with a walk and 2 singles. A sacrifice fly scored the lead runner, but then Shreve buckled down and got a strikeout and ground out to end the inning. Nick Goody’s 9th was a quick 3 outs, keeping the Marlins to those 2 pesky runs scored.

The ironic part about the Yankees’ win tonight is how terrible their offense really was in light of the statistics end of things. It was just 2 well-capitalized pitches that made all the difference in this game. Brett Gardner led-off the 4th inning with a solo home run to right field to get a run on the board; it was only the 2nd hit allowed by the Marlin’s ace starter (who also single-handedly struck out 7 Yankee batters in his 4 short innings).

In fact, the Yankees were down 2-1 heading into the 9th inning, with the Marlins looking for another of their super quick 3-out innings (which honestly was most of them for their pitching staff tonight). But then Hicks led-off with a walk, and Lane Adams was called in to pinch-hit for DH Rodriguez. Adams sent that ball flying over the center field fence and pushed the Yankees up and over the Marlins in a single swing. Of course, the same pitcher promptly got his 3 necessary outs in rather quick succession after that (2 were nasty strikeouts).

Let me explain tonight’s odd statistics: the Yankee pitchers gave up 10 total hits and a whopping 6 walks to Marlins’ batters, striking out just 4 of them. But on the other side of things, the Marlins’ pitching staff only gave up 3 hits and 3 walks to Yankee batters and struck out 11 of them. The Marlins clearly pitched better than the Yankees, and yet because that’s not how this game works, the Yankees still take game one of this weekend series.

Not that I’m complaining about that…

Final score: 3-2 Yankees.

Roster & injury updates: Okay, so apparently, Andrew Miller‘s insistence of playing through the fracture of his non-throwing hand now has the backing of the medical powers-that-be and thus will be on call for any closing duties come the first week of the season. (Still wishing a quick healing regardless!)

CC Sabathia was announced as the official 5th starter, with Nova to be throwing long-term relief out of the bullpen. Not really a surprise here, but Nova certainly put up a very convincing case. I have no doubt that he will be in the starting rotation at some point this year because that’s just how things work during the very long regular season.

And Kirby Yates (as almost everyone predicted) got the final bullpen spot on the 25-man roster, to fill in for Mitchell recovering with that unfortunate broken toe injury. This means there is a set 25 for Opening Day this Monday barring any other unforeseen issues. Fingers crossed, folks.

Today’s game invited a bit of a reunion of sorts for a few former Yankee players, posing for a quick picture for memory’s sake. Don Mattingly now manages the Marlins, Joe Girardi of course manages the Yankees, and Paul O’Neill covers the Yankees with YES Network. Below is O’Neill’s tweet about the mini-reunion.

One more Spring Game until the season starts… you ready for it?

Go Yankees!

{Media update: the game wasn’t broadcast, so no highlights. And while I probably should’ve done something for April Fools, I’m not really that kind of person… so hope you guys had a fun day anyway.}