The Yankees nearly got back in the win column today, but they gave up their 3R lead in the final stretch of today’s game against the Twins in Tampa (6-4). Both sides of the ball were pretty great today, aside from one reliever, and in what was likely Cole’s last start of the spring, he seems as ready as ever for the regular season. The offense got some mojo back, and the boys were boppin’ around a bit. Sadly, they lost, but they kept fighting until the end and a special shoutout to my guy Elijah Dunham for working a 4-pitch walk in the bottom of the ninth.
The Good News for the Yankees:
Starting with Cole, he put together another solid start on the afternoon. He struggled a bit with his command and registering swings & misses, but nonetheless was quite good today. He went 5.2 innings, struck out 3, and gave up one earned run on five hits. The ace of the staff tossed 84 pitches and seems 100% ready for opening day next week.
The offense was clicking today, and the Yankees’ star prospect headlined it. Volpe was on one today and smacked a 2R HR to left-center. He continues to do everything right, and it seems like the shortstop job will come down to the wire. Peraza was criticized by Boone for being “alright” this spring, so maybe the job is Volpe’s after all. Volpe’s also played both shortstop and second base really well this spring and has shown off his elite speed on the base paths.
Both Hicks and Donaldson worked two walks a piece, and for JD, his new stance seems to be resulting in better PAs up to this point. It’s still very early on to see if it’ll lead to any long-term changes, but it’s nice to see him changing things up. Trevino also nabbed two base hits on the afternoon, and Estevan Florial smacked a 2R base knock to give the Yankees their other two runs on the day.
The Bad News:
The bullpen wasn’t anything spectacular, but Jimmy Cordero continued his solid spring and was able to strike out 3 guys in his 1.2 innings worth of work. He could very easily snag one of the vacated bullpen spots, but there’s still a lot of time left for other guys to toss their hats in the ring.
Albert Abreu was the only real pitching blemish on the day, as he threw the game away like a kid does with an apple they had gotten on Halloween. He surrendered a solo shot off a fastball down the middle on a 3-2 count, in the top of the 8th inning. Then, in the 9th, he walked a batter and gave up two base knocks to cut the lead down to just one, right before giving up a 3R homerun to give the Twins the lead. He had to be pulled, and the Yanks’ luck wouldn’t carry them through the bottom of the inning.
There weren’t a ton of negatives today from the lineup side of things, other than Anthony Rizzo, who seems to have something affecting his play. It could just be that he’s struggling to get out of the gate this spring, but with his back injury history, I do worry a bit about him this season. However, if he’s healthy and ready to rock come OD, there should be no need to raise alarms quite yet.
Less than a week until opening day, and you can tell the players are ready for meaningful games to commence. Now that the WBC is over, spring games are starting to die down a bit in following and excitement. The regular season is so close that we can almost taste it, and soon it’ll be another long trek to October.