Wins for the Yankees and Pace of Play

Tampa, Fla., February 26, 2023; Yankees 7, Atlanta 0; Yankees 9, Toronto 5 — The Yankees won two games on their second day of Spring Training games Sunday, and while at least one young pitcher and one position player newbie had outstanding days, the rules on pace of play came in mixed. The Bombers blanked the visiting Braves in Tampa 7-0 in just 2:16, while the road squad of Yankees took 3:05 to best Toronto in Dunedin, 9-5.

Dawn broke on a fog-shrouded Tampa, but by the time the George M. Steinbrenner High School Marching Band arrived to do their pregame thing (a few versions of the ESPN theme song, and more), the sun had burned all that away. The only unwelcome visitors to the Tampa version of the two split-squad victories were the clouds; there were none in evidence, and we’ll see how that plays out going forward. And Yankee righty Clarke Schmidt took a key from the unblemished sky by throwing two stellar innings at the visiting Braves, with five strike outs around a groundout to Oswald Peraza at short.

Baseball’s a nine-inning game, but this one seemed largely over once Clarke finished his work on 31 pitches. That’s because Atlanta starter Bryce Elder had a very different experience. Gleyber Torres bounced his 0-2 offering up the middle for a leadoff one-base hit, and once Aaron Judge grounded an infield single to third and Aaron Hicks celebrated facing an unshifted infield by singling through the second base hole, bases were loaded. Elder’s attempt to get past catcher Jose Trevino failed as he missed with two straight. The backstop who had had an unexpected solid offensive season in 2022 followed with a deep drive to left center, and the home team had a sudden 4-0 lead.

The Yankees would add three runs on rbi doubles by T.J. Rumfield and Mickey Gaspar in the sixth, but the extra offense was hardly needed, as the Atlanta offense amounted to a Sam Hilliard single in the seventh, though the error charged to Yankee third baseman Wilmer Difo on Kevin Pillar’s hot shot down third should have been credited as a hit as well. The Braves did receive four walks on the day. Particularly worthy of mention on the pinstriped pitching side was fine two-inning work by righthanders Will Warren and Clayton Beeter to finish up; the latter was acquired in trade for Joey Gallo, who seemingly could have been gotten for a less talented player, to say the least.

As to the win over the Blue Jays in Dunedin, I know as much as (maybe even less than) most, as I’ve just seen the stats on the mlb ap. Jhony Brito and Mitch Spence set the visiting Yankees up with two solid innings each to start the game, and uber-prospect Anthony Volpe sparked the offense with two hits and two stolen bases. Meanwhile in Tampa, one of the competitors Volpe will battle for the shortstop job, Oswald Peraza, had a hit and a walk while looking solid in the field. And Gleyber Torres added a second hit, giving him four in two days, including a double and a home run.

We all know it’s Spring Training (OK, maybe I don’t), and the games don’t count. But the Yankees had a doubly good day, not only with two wins but stellar performances from young players whose upcoming season will be huge for the team’s chances. As to the new rules, well, no one was penalized in Tampa, though the game flew by. Some of that was due to the lack of Atlanta offense, but some derived from players getting down to business without delay. We’ll have to give it more time before weighing in further. Also under the microscope will be the Yankee play afield. I’m hoping that,

Youth will be served!