Yankees vs. Pirates: Thoughts and Notes
It was not a good day to be a Yankee. In another exhibition from “The Boss” on Tuesday, the Yankees dropped a 12-7 decision to the Pirates.
Yes, you heard right. The Yankees lost to the Pirates. I was surprised, not just because the Yanks started most of their regulars and were beaten, but because just yesterday they had shutout the Bucs at their camp.
· CC Sabathia
The big man did not have it today.
CC Sabathia tossed 2 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on seven hits. He walked one and struck out two. It had been noted before the game that Joe Girardi wanted his ace to pitch at least three innings and top out somewhere around 50 pitches. He tossed 53 pitches to be exact, but obviously did not make it out of the third frame.
The worst pitch Sabathia threw today was a fastball, middle-in that Garrett Jones crushed for a three-run homer in the first inning. The first inning–mind you–that Sabathia gave up four straight hits and runs before getting anyone out. In fact, the Pirates sent eight batters to the plate in the first.
Not exactly a banner day for Sabathia, if I may say.
It seemed to me that he had some delivery issues. Everyone is familiar with Sabathia’s windup, hesitation, and release of the ball. He didn’t seem to be hesitating as he usually does and I think that threw him off today. Sabathia even said after the outing that he was “collapsing his back side” which caused some problems in his mechanics.
The delivery problem may have been something that was addressed after the first inning, because after the rough first, Sabathia came out and dazzled in the second inning. He was able to retire the side in order, but in the third ran into more trouble and was pulled.
When it comes to a pitcher of Sabathia’s caliber, I tend not to worry so much. Something tells me he won’t have too many days like today. When Opening Day rolls around, I’m confident he’ll be the same pitcher we saw last year. I just hope he doesn’t start slow, which historically he has.
Either way, he’ll be fine. I believe in CC Sabathia.
· Nick Johnson
OK, I know I just wrote about Nick Johnson yesterday (and sort of bashed him) but he shut me up today. The Yanks’ new/old designated hitter had two at-bats this afternoon.
And in both at-bats, he homered.
Both shots were quite impressive, too. The first of Johnson’s two home runs came in the first inning. He took a fastball deep to right-center field for a solo job. In the third inning he one-upped himself with a moon shot over the right field wall, another solo blast.
Johnson would have had three at-bats today, but Girardi pinch-hit for him in the fourth. The Yankee skipper said that Johnson is going to play tomorrow and he wants to keep him healthy, so he took him out of the game.
Again, it all goes back to Johnson staying healthy and the question of whether or not he can. He has already sustained a minor injury this spring. He has a history of injuries. Every analyst in the baseball world questions him every year. We’ll have to wait until the season begins and moves to really find out if he can stay healthy, that’s really the bottom line.
I’ll tell you one thing, however; those two homers today looked awfully nice. If he does stay healthy and he swings like he did today, it will mean only good things for the Bronx Bombers.
· Randy Winn
Yesterday Marcus Thames started in left field and did not impress anyone. He was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Talk about a bad day!
Well Randy Winn started in left today and wasn’t much better.
In two at-bats today, Winn was 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout. He did score a run, but he also left three runners on base. His defense was not stellar either, as he missed a fly ball in left field sliding and missing the catch.
So far none of the left fielders have impressed me.
Winn hasn’t gotten much playing time this spring. I think today was really his day to showcase his stuff and he did not do it, which is unfortunate for him. He didn’t have the best numbers last year, hitting only two homers and averaging .262 at the plate.
Maybe the Yankees signed him in hopes of a bounce-back type year, but he looks so out of place. I feel for him because it was mentioned today that he had a rough time off the field last year. Winn’s father-in-law died and apparently that hit him hard (as it would anybody) so he did not have the best year in ’09.
I can only hope at this point that he comes back strong. It was only one game, but he has to earn that spot in left field. Same goes for Thames and Jamie Hoffman, who are vying for that position.
Brett Gardner would be the logical choice (and probably will be) the Opening Day left fielder. Yet that final roster spot has to be filled and one of these players must show off what they can do. And collectively, they all need to do better. They looked very sloppy the last two games.
· Other Notes
–Francisco Cervelli will play again Friday. It turns out he has sustained three concussions in his young career. He needs to be careful. Concussions are nothing to take lightly. They have ended many young players’ careers in almost every sport.
–Royce Ring looked great in the fifth inning, setting the side down in order while recording a strikeout in the frame. He might not make the Opening Day roster, but if anything were to happen to one of the relievers, he would make a good case to fill in.
–Curtis Granderson continued to struggle up until his final at-bat today. He struck out looking and grounded out before wrapping a leadoff triple in the fifth. Hope we see more of this.
–Romulo Sanchez tossed a perfect sixth inning, lighting up the speed gun at 96 mph. It was nice to see one of the Yankee prospects throwing so hard.
–Hector Noesi pitched today. When he came on in relief the other day I thought he was Edwar Ramirez! They look like the same guy.
–Speaking of Ramirez, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for cash today. We’ll all miss “Flaco.” (If you didn’t know, “flaco” means “skinny” or “thin” in Spanish. This was Ramirez’s nickname in the Yankee clubhouse)
–Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira did not start today. Both had the day off.
–Nick Swisher had an RBI single and a walk today. He is hitting very well so far!
–Jorge Posada was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored. That’s a good sign.
–Grapefruit League play resumes Wednesday, as the Yankees will travel to the Detroit Tigers’ camp for an exhibition tomorrow afternoon. Thursday night the Yankees come back home to host the Atlanta Braves. It’ll be nice to see Melky Cabrera again.