Spring Games 16 & 17: NYY vs. PHI & BAL vs. NYY — Splitting the difference

The Yankees were on split-squad duty today, a portion of the team heading across the Courtney Campbell Causeway to play the Phillies and the rest at home hosting the Orioles.

The Phillies’ starter threw 5 perfect innings, really getting to the Yankee batters. Ivan Nova took the mound for the Yankees and really just couldn’t pull through. Over his 5 innings, Nova allowed 9 hits and 3 runs, but still struck out 6 batters. The main damage hit in the 3rd. A single, a single, an RBI single, another RBI single, a double play still scored the 3rd run, a single, and a double that ended in an out with the quick reflexes of Flores in left, Solarte at short, and Cervelli at home to get the runner at home from scoring a fourth run.

Scott Sizemore was the first Yankee to get a hit with a single in the sixth inning, but the Yankees waited until the 7th to score a run. Jacoby Ellsbury smacked a long lead-off solo home run to put the Yankees on the board. Then Teixeira walked; Johnson doubled, ending up at 3rd when the Phillies got Teixeira’s pinch-runner out at home; and then Francisco Cervelli singles and scores Johnson’s pinch-runner for the Yankees’ 2nd (and last run) of the game.

Following Nova, Greene and Mitchell each took an inning and kept the Phillies from adding to their score. But then, Preston Claiborne’s partial 8th inning was unexpected and disappointing. A single, a single, an RBI double, and a 2-RBI double added 3 more runs to the Phillies’ lead before a double play, and Montgomery coming in to get the third out.

But the damage was done in Clearwater. The Phillies won 6-2 over the Yankees.

Meanwhile in Tampa, the Yankees seemed to have a much better day on this unseasonably (but much appreciated) cooler day.

Michael Pineda got the start for today’s game, pitching for 2.2 innings. He allowed just 3 hits and 1 walk, striking out 5 Oriole batters before Robertson came in for the last out of the 3rd — his usual strikeout magic. Thornton came on in the 4th to allow a single and get an out, before Billings replaced him for 2.2 innings and definitely did better than his last relief outing, keeping the Orioles nested (bad pun, I know). Leroux took the 7th and 8th. Cabral was on the 9th, allowing a hit and a walk, but striking out 3 for all 3 of his outs.

Now, on the flip side the field, the Yankees made most of the dent in the first 2 innings. In the 1st, Brett Gardner got a lead-off single, advanced to 2nd on Jeter’s ground out, and then easily scored on Carlos Beltran’s single. Then McCann and Soriano walks to load the bases, but they couldn’t make it happen beyond that. In the 2nd, Zolio Almonte doubled and then scored on Brett Gardner’s ground-rule double. Then Derek Jeter reached on a fielder’s choice as the pitcher overthrew to 3rd to try to get Gardner out, but instead, Gardner scored and Jeter ended up at 2nd. The next two batters left him stranded there. But the Yankees were up 3-0, going into the 3rd.

In the 5th, Brian McCann walked for the second time, advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Alfonso Soriano’s single. 4-0 Yankees. For insurance (not that they needed it), in the 8th, Zelous Wheeler walked, moved to 3rd on Corban Joseph’s single, and scored on Adonis Garcia’s single. Then with Joseph at 3rd, Gil grounds into a double play and Joseph scores the 6th and final Yankee run.

So the Yankees split the results today between their opponents. But this is the week for split squad days, with a good portion of the team headed down for the exhibition games in Panama this weekend, while the rest of the team here on a Saturday away game and Sunday home game. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the team, and for those of us who write about it, it’s going to be a very busy weekend.

Go Yankees!

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