Game 6: All Rise for the Return

The Judge is back!

Aaron Judge makes his Grapefruit League debut as the designated hitter today as the Yankees welcome the Detroit Tigers to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. The Yankees took the Tigers down 3-to-1 in the first game of the Spring Training schedule.

Coincidentally, Luis Cessa also started that first game of the Spring. He gave up one earned run in his two innings of work. Cessa finished last season with a 4.75 ERA in 36.0 innings split between mop-up relief and spot starts.

He faces promising lefty Daniel Norris of the Tigers. Norris was acquired in the trade that sent David Price from the Tigers to the Blue Jays in 2015. Last year, his age-24 season, Norris finished with an inflated 5.31 ERA (4.39 FIP) through 22 games (18 starts). He struggled with his command, walking 3.9 batters per nine innings.

This starting lineup is arguably what manager Aaron Boone could put out on Opening Day in Toronto. Aaron Judge slots perfectly into the No. 2 slot ahead of Giancarlo Stanton. With the exception of third base, second base and who’s on the mound, there’s a very high chance that the Opening Day lineup is on the field.


Tigers’ Lineup:

  1. Leonys Martín – CF
  2. Sergio Alcántara – SS
  3. John Hicks – DH
  4. Jeimer Candelario
  5. Edwin Espinal – 1B
  6. JaCoby Jones – LF
  7. Harold Castro – 2B
  8. Victor Reyes – RF
  9. Grayson Greiner – C

Game 5: Green vs. Blue (Jays)

The Yankees head west to Dunedin.

The Yankees are back on the road, as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays at their spring complex in Dunedin. Chad Green will get the ball as a starter today, making his first spring appearance.

Green was a revelation out of the bullpen last season. He finished the season with a stellar 5-0 record and 1.83 ERA (1.75 FIP). He struck out 13.4 batters per nine, while walking just 2.2. He comes into camp stretched out as a starter, though manager Aaron Boone noted “a lot would have to happen” for him to end up in the rotation.

Marco Estrada gets the ball for the Blue Jays. The 34-year-old had a disappointing season in the final year of the two-year, $26 million contract signed after the 2015 season. In 33 starts, he finished 10-9 with a 4.98 ERA (4.61 FIP) with 8.5 K/9, 9.0 H/9 and 3.4 BB/9. Not what you want from a guy making $14.5 million.

After his walkoff heroics last night, Miguel Andújar gets the start at third base and bats second. A ton of middle/utility infield candidates in the lineup today as well, with Danny Espinosa at second base, Jace Peterson at designated hitter and Ronald Torreyes at shortstop. Lastly, we get to see another start from Billy McKinney (this time in left), and Shane Robinson shifts to right field.

Today’s scheduled relievers for the Yankees are RHP Brady Lail, RHP David Hale, RHP J.P. Feyereisen and RHP Raynel Espinal.


Blue Jays’ Lineup:

  1. Devon Travis – 2B
  2. Yangervis Solarte – 3B
  3. Josh Donaldson – DH
  4. Justin Smoak – 1B
  5. Randal Grichuk – RF
  6. Russell Martin – C
  7. Steve Pearce – LF
  8. Kevin Pillar – CF
  9. Aledmys Díaz – SS

Phillies 3, Yankees 4: Miguel’s Magic

The first walk-off of the year!

With two strikes and two outs against him in the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, Miguel Andújar came up huge against the Philadelphia Phillies. His walkoff solo home run propelled the Yankees to their fourth straight spring victory Monday night in Tampa.

Andújar is in the thick of the intense infield competition for the Yankees. He came in as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, and immediately roped a double that knocked in his main competition at third base, Brandon Drury. That hit tied the game. Then, after Gleyber Torres and Mark Payton were unable to connect against Ranger Suárez of the Phillies, Andújar lined a 2-2 pitch out to left for a game-winner.

Sonny Gray started the game in excellent shape. He worked around two singles to throw two innings of shutout ball, striking out two. Things began to unravel once Chance Adams came in to relieve Gray. Shoddy control allowed Carlos Santana to drive in a leadoff walk with a sacrifice fly in the third.

Ben Heller took over after a scoreless inning from Jonathan Holder. He eventually walked the bases loaded with one out, and then hit Phillies’ catcher Jorge Alfaro to force in a run.

The Yankees answered in the bottom of that frame. Drury walked, Billy McKinney reached on a fielding error by first baseman Matt McBride, then Tyler Wade knocked Drury in to cut the deficit to 2-to-1. Andújar’s double in the seventh tied the game.

Another Yankees run came in the eighth. Erik Kratz and Tyler Austin walked, then designated hitter Jorge Saez (pinch-hitting for Giancarlo Stanton) singled Kratz in to give the Yankees a 3-to-2 lead. Austin was thrown out trying to score by left fielder Jesmuel Valentin.

Cody Carroll was tasked with getting the last three outs, but he was unable to without squandering the lead. He got the first two outs, but Scott Kingery deposited a solo home run out to right field to tie the game again at 3.

Andújar took care of the Phillies from that point, going from two strikes and two outs to the first walk-off hero of this young season.


Tomorrow, the Yankees take a trip west to take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Dunedin Stadium tomorrow at 1:07 p.m. Chad Green will get the start coming off an incredible season out of the bullpen. His counterpart will be RHP Marco Estrada.

Game 4: Sonny in Tampa

The Yankees return home for another matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field Monday night with Sonny Gray on the mound. The Bombers took the Phillies down 8-to-3 Sunday at their complex in Clearwater.

Sonny Gray makes his Tampa debut tonight after being acquired by the Yankees at the 2017 Trade Deadline. As a Yankee, he posted a 4-7 record (he got terrible run support) and a 3.72 ERA (4.87 FIP) in 11 starts after the deadline. Gray is set to make $6.5 million this season after avoiding arbitration with the Yankees on a one-year deal.

Gray’s counterpart on the hill will be Phillies’ right-hander Ben Lively. The 25-year-old debuted last year, and made 15 starts to a 4-7 record and 4.26 ERA (4.97 FIP). A fourth round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2013, Lively struck out 5.3 per nine innings and walked 2.4.

This lineup looks similar to something that Aaron Boone would use in a regular season game. Brett Gardner and Gary Sánchez make their spring debuts tonight. We get to see some more of Billy McKinney in right field as well. Tyler Wade gets the start at the heavily coveted second base opening.

Tonight’s scheduled relievers are RHP Chance Adams, RHP Giovanny Gallegos, RHP Ben Heller and RHP Cody Carroll.


Phillies’ Lineup:
  1. Rhys Hoskins – LF
  2. Carlos Santana – 1B
  3. César Hernández – SS
  4. Aaron Altherr – CF
  5. Nick Williams – RF
  6. Jorge Alfaro – C
  7. Ryan Flaherty – 3B
  8. Pedro Florimón – 2B
  9. Dylan Cozens – DH

 

Clint Frazier Suffers Mild Concussion

The outfielder will be held out of game action for a few days.

The Yankees have been hit with their first in-game injury of Spring Training, and the victim is outfielder Clint Frazier. Manager Aaron Boone told reporters today that Frazier suffered a mild concussion making a circus catch on the warning track at the Pirates’ Spring Training complex in Bradenton Saturday.

The winds were swirling that day, and Frazier made an incredible catch at the wall to rob a hit. But, “Boone said that Frazier mentioned a cloudy sensation” after hitting his head on the chain-link fence that covers an outfield scoreboard at LECOM Park, per Bryan Hoch.

Frazier proceeded to tell Boone that he felt better Monday, though he will likely be held out of game action until all of his symptoms subsided. Frazier is not the first Yankees outfielder to deal with concussion symptoms, as Jacoby Ellsbury missed 29 games with a concussion suffered May 24 crashing into the center field wall at Yankee Stadium.

“He reminded me that he could turn on 96 [mph] right now,” Boone said to Hoch.

The 23-year-old is considered to have an outside chance at breaking camp with the MLB club after the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton. So far in the spring, he is slashing .250/.400/.250 through two games.

Yankees 8, Phillies 3: The First Blowout!

The Yankee offense had no difficulty finding the big hit Sunday afternoon in Clearwater, as they cruised to an 8-to-3 victory over their hosts, the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Bombers jumped out with a three-run first inning on the back of a Danny Espinosa double that cleared the bases. They added on in the fourth with a Ronald Torreyes sacrifice fly.

That 4-to-0 lead was in jeopardy in the bottom of the fourth. After a dominating first inning of work, Justus Sheffield struggled with his command in the second. A walk and a hit batter put him into trouble, and he paid for it. Odúbel Herrera plated one on a sacrifice fly, then Maikel Franco followed with a towering home run that spelled the end for Sheffield.

The Yankees offense then became the Jeff Hendrix show until the end of the game. He hit a grounder that Phillies first baseman Logan Moore could not handle, which allowed two to score. He then tacked on another RBI single in the eighth inning. The final run for the Yankees scored on a Rashad Crawford sacrifice fly. All in all, it was impressive to see how strong the Yankees lower prospects are.

A combined effort between Jordan Montgomery, Sheffield, Wade LeBlanc, Cale Coshow, Raynel Espinal and Giovanny Gallegos held the Phillies to just four hits, while striking out 12 batters.

The Yankees return to George M. Steinbrenner Field Monday for their first night game of the spring, as the Phillies will head east from Clearwater for another tilt against the Yankees in Tampa. Sonny Gray is scheduled to get his first in-game work of the spring. He faces fellow righty Ben Lively of the Phillies.

Game 3: Gumby’s Back

From one Pennsylvania team to the next.

It’s game three of Spring Training, and we get to see a real starting pitcher for the Bombers today. Jordan Montgomery makes his first start against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.

Montgomery is tasked with keeping the Yankees’ spotless spring record intact (although he’ll only throw two innings maximum). It was just last year that Montgomery was a revelation and forced his way North as the team’s fifth starter. The 25-year-old, drafted out of the University of South Carolina in 2014, went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA (4.07 FIP) in 29 starts for the team. He’s all but guaranteed to be in the rotation again, but the team will keep a watchful eye on his innings to avoid injuries.

His counterpart is another young starter with incredible talent: right-hander Aaron Nola. He was the seventh overall pick of the same draft where Montgomery was taken (Gumby went in the fourth round), and he debuted the following season at age-22. He impressed last season with a 3.54 ERA (3.27 FIP) and 9.9 K/9 rate at age-24. He, too, is set to be a huge piece of a young and talented Phillies rotation.

Some veterans have made the trip to Clearwater, as the lineup shows. I think a few things deserve highlighting: Gleyber Torres is starting at shortstop, even though the big-league availability is second base. Danny Espinosa is at the keystone, while Ronald Torreyes moves to third. There is a battle for that utility infielder spot. Lastly, the center field competition plays out with Jacoby Ellsbury in the field and Aaron Hicks at the designated hitter spot.

Scheduled relievers for the Yankees today are LHP Justus Sheffield, LHP Wade LeBlanc, RHP Cale Coshow and RHP Raynel Espinal.


Phillies’ Lineup:
  1. Roman Quinn – CF
  2. J.P. Crawford – SS
  3. Nick Williams – LF
  4. Odúbel Herrera – DH
  5. Maikel Franco – 3B
  6. Andrew Knapp – C
  7. Tommy Joseph – 1B
  8. Dylan Cozens – RF
  9. Pedro Florimón – 2B

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