Wild Things

Tampa, Fla., March 3, 2020; Yankees 9, Boston 1 — The Yankee “pounding” of the visiting Red Sox in an ugly first inning on Tuesday afternoon was a sign of what can happen in a Spring Training game. But usually innings like this happen later in games, not at the beginning when the lineup is dotted with starters and other players likely to make the team. But when I say “pounding,” it was more like a case of hitting a few balls and letting the visitors mishandle them. DJ LeMahieu started the 34-minute bottom of the first with a clean single that just got past C.J. Chatham at short, but from there on, it was Keystone Kops stuff. Starter Martin Perez wild pitched LeMahieu to second and, one out later, Chatham threw wildly to the plate on Gleyber Torres’s ground ball. Gary Sanchez topped a roller down first which neither Perez nor first baseman Michael Chavis could decide to field. Continue reading

Fundamental Things Apply

Sarasota, Fla., March 2, 2020; Tampa Bay 3, Baltimore 3 — It didn’t take us long to decide what to do in the Tampa area on an 80-degree sunny Monday in March with no Yankee game scheduled. Go find another ballgame. We’d covered every city in the area but Bradenton (the Pirates) and Sarasota (the Orioles), and Pittsburgh was not playing at home. Ninety minutes South it was, with the Rays visiting the O’s. Continue reading

Who Are You?

Lakeland, Fla., March 1, 2020; Detroit 10, Yankees 4 — The fatigue anticipated coming into the Yanks’ 10th game in nine days appeared on the field Sunday, as the home-standing Tigers beat the visiting Yankees 10-4 on the strength of an ugly six-run bottom of the seventh inning. The end-of-game box score listed two errors for Detroit and none for New York, a scoring Yankee fans in the stands would rush to dispute. Continue reading

Yankees Are “En Fuego”

Tampa, Fla., February 29, 2020; Yankees 8, Detroit 2 — The visiting Tigers and Yankees breezed through 4.5 innings of scoreless baseball in one hour and 11 minutes in a warming George M. Steinbrenner Field Saturday afternoon while a split squad of Yankee players were battling the Red Sox in Fort Myers, a nearly three-hour bus trip to the South. The visitors reached Gerrit Cole, in his second Yankee start, for two hits, as did the Yankees a very game lefty Matthew Boyd for Detroit. Continue reading

Sage Advice

North Port, Fla., February 28, 2020; Yankees 5, Atlanta 3 — Following a couple of days of revitalized offense, the Yankees continued to hit the ball, and once again the pitching held up its end on Friday afternoon. Visiting the Braves’ brand-new facility in North Port, Yankee players collected hits in every inning but the third and ninth, and 10 overall. Although the team precipitated a lot more action than the Braves, who rarely reached base, the visitors were on the wrong end of a 2-0 score through five innings once third baseman Johan Camargo reached young righthander Deivi Garcia for a two-run shot in the second inning. Continue reading

Another Quickie

Tampa, Fla., February 27, 2020; Yankees 7, Tampa Bay 1 — The toughest thing about describing the Yankees’ 7-1 victory over visiting Tampa Bay Thursday is picking the aspect that pleased most. The offense trumped Wednesday’s three-double attack by clearing three fences; two ready-for-prime pitchers and two of the knocking-on-the-door variety shut down the visitors over nine frames, and all this was accomplished in a neat, no-nonsense two hours and 18 minutes. Continue reading

Two Hours/A Second Win

Tampa, Fla. February 26, 2020; Yankees 8, Washington 2 — Tommy Kahnle must have felt like he was pitching for the save in a postseason game when he finally got a called strike to retire Washington second baseman Jake Noll for the third out of the top of the fifth inning Wednesday afternoon. With the most tenuous grasp on the weather, he assured fans that, yes, we were watching a complete game 8-2 victory by the Yankees. Continue reading

Ninth Innings Count

Tampa, Fla., February 24, 2020; Yankees 3, Pittsburgh 3 — We caught more than six hours of baseball Monday, and both games had their final outcomes decided at the very end. No shortcuts would have worked. The Orioles fell 8-7 to the homestanding Phillies in Clearwater despite a furious comeback from 7-1 down after six. And in Tampa, the Yankees failed to notch their first win of the Spring when the Pirates scratched together the tying run in the top of the ninth. Continue reading

A Fine Mess

Port Charlotte, Fla., February 23, 2020; Tampa Bay 9, Yankees 7 — Well, we “suffered” through another Yankee Spring Training loss on Sunday, 9-7, visiting the Rays in Port Charlotte. The work of 36 position players and 19 pitchers resulted in three hours and seven minutes of baseball action, with the visitors unfortunately ending on the losing side. Continue reading