Spring Game 32: NYY vs. MIA — No foolin’… Is it April 4th yet?

The Yankees are in Miami for a weekend of final games before the season officially begins on Monday. They played a game tonight and then will face the Marlins again tomorrow afternoon.

Nathan Eovaldi got his last start of the Spring tonight against Miami, and despite getting fairly roughed up by the Marlins’ batters, he managed to keep them to a single run scored. Not exactly “Nasty Nate” stuff, but depending on that trusty defense certainly worked in his favor tonight. He gave up 7 hits and 4 walks, striking out just 3 batters into the 6th inning. A bit of a rough adieu to this Spring for him.

Actually, Eovaldi kept the Marlins scoreless until his last inning, the 6th. A lead-off single moved to 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, then to 3rd on a single, and then scored on yet another single. A 4th allowed walk in his outing called an end to Eovaldi’s night, with the bases loaded and just 1 out on the board. So who do you call? Dellin Betances, of course. Betances promptly got the next batter to fly out to left field to a waiting Hicks who fired the ball home to a waiting Romine who got the guy trying to score. See, there’s that trusty defense.

Ever reliable Chasen Shreve threw his worst inning of the Spring (a hit and a walk allowed) in the 7th and still got out of the inning without a Marlin scoring or doing any further damage. Then Luis Cessa likewise threw his worst inning this Spring and wound up (by luck of statistics) earning the win for tonight’s game. Cessa’s 8th inning  started by him loading the bases with a walk and 2 singles. A sacrifice fly scored the lead runner, but then Shreve buckled down and got a strikeout and ground out to end the inning. Nick Goody’s 9th was a quick 3 outs, keeping the Marlins to those 2 pesky runs scored.

The ironic part about the Yankees’ win tonight is how terrible their offense really was in light of the statistics end of things. It was just 2 well-capitalized pitches that made all the difference in this game. Brett Gardner led-off the 4th inning with a solo home run to right field to get a run on the board; it was only the 2nd hit allowed by the Marlin’s ace starter (who also single-handedly struck out 7 Yankee batters in his 4 short innings).

In fact, the Yankees were down 2-1 heading into the 9th inning, with the Marlins looking for another of their super quick 3-out innings (which honestly was most of them for their pitching staff tonight). But then Hicks led-off with a walk, and Lane Adams was called in to pinch-hit for DH Rodriguez. Adams sent that ball flying over the center field fence and pushed the Yankees up and over the Marlins in a single swing. Of course, the same pitcher promptly got his 3 necessary outs in rather quick succession after that (2 were nasty strikeouts).

Let me explain tonight’s odd statistics: the Yankee pitchers gave up 10 total hits and a whopping 6 walks to Marlins’ batters, striking out just 4 of them. But on the other side of things, the Marlins’ pitching staff only gave up 3 hits and 3 walks to Yankee batters and struck out 11 of them. The Marlins clearly pitched better than the Yankees, and yet because that’s not how this game works, the Yankees still take game one of this weekend series.

Not that I’m complaining about that…

Final score: 3-2 Yankees.

Roster & injury updates: Okay, so apparently, Andrew Miller‘s insistence of playing through the fracture of his non-throwing hand now has the backing of the medical powers-that-be and thus will be on call for any closing duties come the first week of the season. (Still wishing a quick healing regardless!)

CC Sabathia was announced as the official 5th starter, with Nova to be throwing long-term relief out of the bullpen. Not really a surprise here, but Nova certainly put up a very convincing case. I have no doubt that he will be in the starting rotation at some point this year because that’s just how things work during the very long regular season.

And Kirby Yates (as almost everyone predicted) got the final bullpen spot on the 25-man roster, to fill in for Mitchell recovering with that unfortunate broken toe injury. This means there is a set 25 for Opening Day this Monday barring any other unforeseen issues. Fingers crossed, folks.

Today’s game invited a bit of a reunion of sorts for a few former Yankee players, posing for a quick picture for memory’s sake. Don Mattingly now manages the Marlins, Joe Girardi of course manages the Yankees, and Paul O’Neill covers the Yankees with YES Network. Below is O’Neill’s tweet about the mini-reunion.

One more Spring Game until the season starts… you ready for it?

Go Yankees!

{Media update: the game wasn’t broadcast, so no highlights. And while I probably should’ve done something for April Fools, I’m not really that kind of person… so hope you guys had a fun day anyway.}

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