Before the inevitable armada of negative comments floods the cities and streets of social media, let’s take deep breathes and look at the positives…or the single positive result that was present from the New York Yankees’ loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Although the Yankees only managed to score 1 run in 9 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays, this was only the first day of Spring Training. While some players started training as early as November to prepare for the 2020 season, many players are still readjusting to the lengthy and grueling period of time know as baseball season.
It’s worth noting that important key pieces, such as DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres, only had two plate appearances and require ample time to prepare themselves for opening day.
There is also common knowledge that Aaron Judge, along with other weapons such as Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit, didn’t start today and will not play every single game. Not to mention, a majority of the players taking on the main roles were minor leaguers with little to no experience in the majors.
Most of this is basic information, so that leads us to the prime question: what were the positives?
There is exactly one and only one positive, and that honor belongs to J.A. Happ.
Happ pitched with excellence and precision on the mound. Through 2 innings pitched, Happ gave up no runs, no hits and struck out 3 batters. While it’s only one game and doesn’t mount up to much, this was refreshing for both Happ and Yankee fans across the globe.
In 2019, Happ struggled immensely with his location, giving up 1.90 home runs per 9 innings and posting a 4.91 ERA, 5.22 FIP, 1.30 WHIP and a 4.72 SIERA through 161.1 innings pitched.
Both his fastball velocity and fastball spin have dropped in the last 2 years, which could explain the drastic spike in home runs he gave up in 2019. It’s also worth mentioning that his strikeout percentage, hard hit percentage, exit velocity, expected slugging, expected batting average and expected weighted on-base average have all decreased significantly.
Regardless, Happ has put the past behind him and is focusing on improving his abilities as a starting pitcher before opening day arrives.
In general, the Yankees were nonexistent at the plate, only cashing in 3 hits with 1 solo bomb driven in by Chris Gittens in the bottom of the 9th. Not much to explain other than it’s Spring Training and that this team will be fully equipped and prepared for when opening day strikes their doorstep.