Spring Game 12: NYY vs. PIT — Shaken, but not stirred

Well, the eked out days of losing games this Spring had to end some time. But it was just a terribly messy game and the score reflected just a weak show of pitching, fielding, and offense that we hadn’t seen from the Yankees in a real way at all this season. So, let’s hope this was an odd Monday quirk, a one-off thing.

The Yankees took on the Pirates again, this time at their Spring home in Bradenton (about an hour south of Steinbrenner Field), and it just wasn’t good from start to finish for the Yankees. The strength the Pirates showed yesterday was in full force this beautiful Monday afternoon, and it effectively shut the Yankees down and out almost from the beginning.

Honestly, the biggest issue was easily the pitching today. Overall, the staff gave up 13 hits and 5 walks, and still struck out 7 Pirates’ batters. There were only a few clean innings, and that allowed opportunity for the Pirates to pounce and then shine for their Spring hometown crowd.

Bryan Mitchell struggled into the 3rd inning with his start. In the 2nd, he loaded up the bases with consecutive singles, and then all of those runners scored on a 2-RBI double and a ground out. A lead-off solo home run began the 3rd inning, and after a 1-out single, the Yankees went to JP Feyereisen. Feyereisen kept things interested loading up the bases with 2 walks and 2 outs on the board before getting the needed 3rd out and leaving the runners stranded.

Under Montgomery in the 5th, he watched a lead-off walk score on an RBI double and then that runner score on another RBI double before he got the 3 outs to get out of that inning. Rutckyj’s messy 7th inning was not entirely his fault, though. After loading up the bases with 2 singles and a walk, a fielding error allowed one run to score and kept the bases loaded. Rutckyj walked in the next run before a bases-clearing double put the Pirates into double-digits on the scoreboard.

With no outs scored and a runner at 3rd, the ball went to Graham who promptly got 2 strikeouts. But then a double easily scored the runner, and the next batter doubled that guy home. Graham got that much-needed 3rd out on the 11th batter of the half-inning.

The Yankees faced former teammate Ivan Nova, whose 3 innings seemed to breeze through the roster at first. In the 3rd, Nova’s own errors allowed the lone Yankees’ run of the afternoon. Brett Gardner reached on Nova’s throwing error (trying to throw him out at 1st and missed), which landed Gardner at 2nd. Gardner then advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch before rushing home as Jacoby Ellsbury benefited from Nova’s fielding error.

Other than that, the Yankee worked a grand total of 5 hits and 1 walk all afternoon, striking out 9 times. Like I said, it was not a good day for the Yankees. The Pittsburgh fans, however, think Monday is a great day.

Final score: 13-1 Pirates

And, early this morning (as in 4:30 am EST), the World Baseball Classic began in Seoul as the home team (South Korea) took on the much-talked about team representing Israel. Going into extra innings, Israel came out on top 2-1 over South Korea. Israel plays again later tonight, facing Chinese Taipei (at 10:00 pm EST).

Now, if you’re wondering if the Yankees are well-represented in the World Baseball Classic, they are. And they’re all over the world: catcher Kellin Deglan is playing for Canada; pitcher Dewin Perez, outfielders Tito Polo and Carlos Vidal, and infielder Donovan Solano represent Columbia; pitchers Dellin Betances and Luis Severino are suiting up for the reigning WBC champions Dominican Republic; pitcher Richard Bleier is playing for Israel; pitcher Tommy Layne represents Italy; pitcher Giovanny Gallegos is throwing for Mexico; infielder Didi Gregorius is playing for the Netherlands; and pitcher Tyler Clippard is part of Team USA.

So, while I probably should be rooting for Team USA, I’ll be keeping a close eye on all those other teams with our pinstriped guys. And, honestly, if you can claim heritage to play on certain teams, USA is the only personal heritage I could qualify for, as the other teams got knocked out in the qualifying rounds last year. Let’s just say, my “heritage” teams are probably more familiar with the World Cup than the World Series.

Go Yankees!

{Note: I chose today’s title because although a certain famous fictional spy loves his martinis as such, every good bartender knows it’s the surest way to destroy of martini. Shaking it bruises the vodka (or gin) and thus muddles the taste. A true martini should be stirred to allow the mixer to blend naturally with the liquor. Thus it applies to today as they did a lot of things really wrong, and the result left a metaphorically nasty taste in the mouth and a temptation to grab an alcoholic beverage to forget the mess that was this afternoon.}

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