Game 57: BOS vs. NYY — “El Gary” & Gardy rule the Bronx

Finishing a series on a win is always a good thing. Winning a series is always a good thing. Doing both of those in the Bronx against the Red Sox is a great thing. On another chilly day in the City, the Yankees faced off against their division and long-time rival Boston Red Sox to close out their mid-week series. And they did so with a rather large show of power.

This gave starter Michael Pineda a nice cushion to work from, which he did need from time to time. Pineda threw 110 pitches through his 7 innings, giving up just 4 hits, 2 walks, and 1 unearned run, striking out 8 Boston batters along the way. In the 4th, the lead-off batter reached 1st on a throwing error, moved to 2nd on a single, ended up at 3rd on a double play, and then scored on a passed ball.

The Red Sox did threaten at times, putting runners in scoring position four times. But Adam Warren threw a flawless 8th inning, breezing through the Red Sox in just 18 pitches, and Giovanni Gallegos got the first 2 outs of the 9th, including one great sliding catch by Ronald Torreyes. It would be closer Dellin Betances to create a dramatic flourish to the 9th inning — a walk, a strikeout wild pitch that allowed the batter to reach safely, and a walk to load up the bases — only to have Betances get a great strikeout on a wicked slider to end the game.

Meanwhile, the Yankees continued to give the Red Sox starter a really hard time. This same starter used to play with the Rays and the Tigers, so he’s faced the Yankees quite often. And consistently, the Yankees love hitting off him, as they did tonight — racking up 8 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs in just 5 innings (and a whopping 107 pitches).

In the 2nd, Sanchez led-off with a walk and moved to 2nd on Gregorius’ single. Two outs later, Sanchez scored on Brett Gardner’s single. In the 3rd, with 1 out and runners on the corners, Gary Sanchez hit a big 3-run home run into the left field seats. And after Castro’s lead-off single in the 5th, Sanchez did it again and hit a big 2-run home run, this time to the right field seats.

As the Red Sox dipped into their bullpen, the Yankees continued their offensive march towards victory tonight. In the 6th, with 2 outs, Aaron Judge’s single became the hardest hit ball of the season, at 119.8 mph in exit velocity (though it should be noted that Judge has hit three 119+mph hits, and the rest of MLB has none). After moving to 2nd on Holliday’s walk, Judge then scored on Starlin Castro’s single.

And in the 8th, Brett Gardner led things off with his 13th home run of the season. Hicks and Judge singled, and Holliday was hit by a pitch to load the bases. All with no outs this inning. Castro hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd, which still scored Hicks to cap off the Yankees’ scoring tonight.

Final score: 9-1 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1.

And the Yankees announced the lineup for their 70th Annual Old Timers’ Day in just over two weeks. Yankees Hall-of Famers and alumni scheduled to appear include: Jesse Barfield, Scott Bradley, Dr. Bobby Brown, Homer Bush, Rick Cerone, David Cone, Bucky Dent, Al Downing, Brian Doyle, Mariano Duncan, John Flaherty, Whitey Ford, Joe Girardi, Goose Gossage, Ron Guidry, Charlie Hayes, Rickey Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Scott Kamieniecki, Pat Kelly, Don Larsen, Graeme Lloyd, Hector Lopez, Sparkly Lyle, Kevin Maas, Tino Martinez, Lee Mazzilli, Ramiro Mendoza, Stump Merrill, Gene “Stick”
Michael, Gene Monahan, Jeff Nelson, Paul O’Neill, Jorge Posada (making his OTD debut!), Willie Randolph, Tim Raines, Mickey Rivers, Tanyon Sturtze, Ralph Terry, Marcus Thames, Joe Torre, Mike Torrez, Roy White, and Bernie Williams.

The widows of five Yankee legend will also make an appearance: Arlene Howard, widow of Elston Howard; Helen Hunter, widow of Jim “Catfish” Hunter; Jill Martin, widow of Billy Martin; Diana Munson, widow of Thurman Munson; and Kay Murcer, widow of Bobby Murcer.

Old Timer’s Day is coming up on Sunday, June 25. Gates will open at 10am that day. The “Old Timers” will play a short exhibition game before the regularly scheduled afternoon game the Yankees will play against the visiting Rangers at 2:05 pm. At the afternoon game the day before (Saturday, June 24), many of the above legends will be there to hang out with the fans, signing autographs and taking pictures. Basically, it’s going to be a weekend of legends. Have you got your tickets? I can’t wait!

Go Yankees!

Game 56: BOS vs. NYY — #CCStrong shuts out the competition

According to some weird trivia bits on my newsfeed, tonight’s game was the largest shutout win against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium since September 1965. And honestly, it’s really a whole lot to do with starter CC Sabathia, who dominated once again, and led the Yankees to his 5th straight win.

Like I said, Sabathia was dominant through his outing tonight in the middle game against the Red Sox, throwing 95 pitches through his 8 innings. He gave up 5 hits and no walks, striking out 5 Boston batters. But more importantly, Sabathia allowed no runs.

Yes, between the dominant pitching by Sabathia and the great defense, the Yankee kept the Red Sox scoreless. And Jonathan Holder continued that streak with a stellar 10-pitch 9th inning to breeze through the Red Sox lineup and close out the game.

In the 3rd, Didi Gregorius led-of with a solo home run to start off the Yankees’ run-scoring tonight. The Yankees loaded up the bases that inning, but left all 3 runner stranded. But this certainly wasn’t the sign of things to come this game. Castro led-off the 4th inning with a great stand-up triple and then scored on Gary Sanchez’s single, and Headley hit a 1-out single to join Sanchez on the bases. They both then scored when Chris Carter hit a really big 3-run home run deep into the left field seats.

Later, in the bottom of the 7th, Gardner reached 1st on a fielding error and then stole 2nd, his first stolen base since April 10. Gardner eventually scored all the way from 2nd on Matt Holliday’s 2-out single. He went all “superman” as he slid into home plate to easily beat the off-center throw.

In the 8th, with 1 out, Gregorius singled and Headley walked to get things started again. Chris Carter’s single scored Gregorius, moving Headley to 3rd. And Brett Gardner singled home Headley to cap off the Yankee runs tonight. The Yankees certainly racked up the hits (as well as the runs), with a grand total of 12 hits by Yankee batters.

Final score: 8-0 Yankees

A rather nice turn of events after last night. Though you can’t say the Yankees didn’t make it a close one despite the struggles at the start. These Yankees this season are something else to watch.

On another note: one of my favorite parts of seeing baseball live and in person is showing up early for batting practice. You get to watch the players take swings and the occasional fielding drill all leading up to the game. This year is especially fun for fans who crowd the outfield seats and bleachers in hopes of catching batting practice home run balls from the likes of a player like Aaron Judge. You never know when one of his big hits can come your way out there.

In fact, it’s not only fans that have to stay alert for an Aaron Judge hit. Judge has actually broken a television in a club in the outfield seating area at Yankee Stadium, hit 2 balls into a hotel near the stadium in Toronto, and smacked one into a vendor’s kiosk, bouncing it off the bar area, before tonight’s game.

So basically, when Judge is up, look out! Those little signs on the backs of the chairs are true, especially when a certain outfielder is in the batter’s box or in the batting cage:

Be Alert!
#truth {photo courtesy of author}

Go Yankees!

Game 55: BOS vs. NYY — A chilly rivalry slows Yankee advance

The calendar says June 6, but the weather certainly wasn’t keeping up in the Bronx tonight. No, it was cold (54° at first pitch and dropping) and drizzling rain through most of the game. And yet, the packed crowd in the Bronx bundled up to watch the first game of this week’s rivalry series. Because there’s nothing like the rivalry series.

I mean, over the years, it’s certainly toned down from the vitriolic fervor that you probably wouldn’t want to take your kids to. And then the Red Sox won the Series (3 times), and suddenly, it’s all good. It’s like having a good debate about really opposing politics, and then still being able to go out for drinks with that person with no hard feelings. It’s the good kind of rivalry — where you don’t hate the people or the city, and you want good things for them everywhere except within the ball park. No, in the ball park, you do not wish good things for them, and a loss stings a bit harder than most other losses.

Of course, if there was a better start, they Yankees actually might have had this game. But Masahiro Tanaka continued in his struggles on the mound in tonight’s game. He threw just 62 pitches in his 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, a walk, and 5 runs, and striking out just 2 Boston batters, setting himself (and the Yankees) up for the loss.

In the 1st, the lead-off batter singled, made it to 3rd on a single, and then scored on a fielder’s choice to give the Red Sox a small early lead. But Tanaka was able to hold them off until control slipped again in the 4th, giving up his lone walk to lead-off the inning. Then he gave up consecutive home runs, all before recording an out. A 2-out solo shot in the 5th capped off the Red Sox’s runs for the night.

So, with Tanaka coming off a rough start, the rest of the team had some work to do. The bullpen had to keep the Red Sox from adding to their score. Which they actually did quite well. Layne allowed a lead-off walk in the 6th, but then Chad Green came in for some long-term relief and just breezed through the Red Sox lineup, including getting 5 stellar strikeouts for his 10 outs (pitching just over 3 innings). Shreve closed things out for the last 2 outs of the 9th inning in just 9 pitches.

The Yankees offense had some catching up to do as well. Down early, the Yankees took their first available opportunity in the 2nd inning. After Hicks worked a 1-out walk, Didi Gregorius singled and thanks to a throwing error by the outfielder, Hicks scored and Gregorius ended up all the way at 3rd. But 2 outs later, the game was still tied.

Down even further in the 5th, Chris Carter led-off with a big, solid solo home run. After the starter exhausted himself in just 5 innings (throwing a whopping 123 pitches, by the way), a new reliever gave the Yankees a bit more chances. Starlin Castro led-off with a single, moved to 3rd on Hicks’ single, and then scored while Gregorius hit into a double play.

The Yankees took the final shot in the 8th under yet another new reliever. Matt Holliday led-off with a double and then on a ground out camped at 3rd for a bit. With a new pitcher, Gregorius actually struck out on a wild pitch, but the catcher was unable to handle it and Gregorius took off for 1st base as Holliday came running home. Everyone’s safe, and the Yankees were within a single run of the Red Sox lead. Despite Headley’s walk, the Yankees ended up stranding 2 runners on base and then never had a chance in the 9th for a final rally.

Final score: 5-4 Red Sox

MLB released its latest AL All-Star Game voting information. And as it turns out, the whole world is an Aaron Judge fan. Yes, Judge is now #1 overall in voting, plus #1 in the outfield category. Basically, everyone seems to recognize that there’s something pretty awesome about this kid. He does something kind of spectacular at nearly every game, and he’s getting noticed, rightly so. However, I think MLB beat reporter Bryan Hoch put it best during a moment tonight’s Judge show:

And there’s still quite a bit of Yankee representation: Castro dropped to 2nd for 2nd basemen; Holliday is up to 2nd for designated hitters; Gregorius is 3rd for short stops; Sanchez is 4th for catchers; and Gardner is 9th and Ellsbury 15th for outfielders. Have you voted your 35 times yet?

Now, on this day, in 1944, 73 years ago, the Allies embarked on a huge invasion of northern France in what became known to the world as D-Day. It was the ultimate turning point for the Allied forces, leading to the liberation of France from Nazi occupation and eventually to their victory over the Axis Powers. Baseball in America was cancelled that day as Americans clung to their radios to hear about the storming of the beaches of Normandy.

But one particular person you may have heard of played a key role in that operation. A young naval officer named Larry spend the invasion running messages between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach, two of the specific points of attack on the western side of the English Channel. At one point, he and five crewmates provided cover fire on Omaha Beach to soften the German defenses to get US troops to advance on land.

No one knew that the scrawny kid from St. Louis, who helped keep the Allies in communication at the risk of his own life at times that day, would be the same one they’d be cheering on to help the Yankees win multiple World Series championships in the next coming decades. Even today, folks proudly wear #8 in his honor, but 73 years ago, he did more than just hit a ball around. Yogi Berra showed what it really meant to be a hero, and he served his country well.

And then he came back to play a little baseball…

A big thank you once again to all our nation’s veterans and their families. Your service and sacrifice are never forgotten.

Go Yankees!

Game 20: NYY vs. BOS — #TanakaTime wins pitching duel

Tonight’s final game at Fenway this series was bound to be one to watch. The Red Sox sent in their absolutely outstanding pitcher to oppose Masahiro Tanaka. Let me give credit where credit is due for a moment: Sale is a really good pitcher, and despite the Yankees’ advancing offense (including 8 hits), he somehow earned 10 strikeouts.

Both pitchers threw into the 9th inning, but it would be Tanaka who would clearly dominate thanks in part to the defense. Tanaka only got 3 strikeouts, but he only gave up 3 hits over a complete 9 shutout innings, throwing just 97 total pitches. This, of course, set himself up for his 3rd win of the season so far.

Like I said, the Yankees offense managed to dent into the Red Sox pitching, working 8 total hits off the starter. They also managed to turn that into a few runs. In the 4th, Aaron Hicks led-off with a single, moved to 2nd on a ground out, went to 3rd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Matt Holliday’s sacrifice fly.

Then in the 9th, Hicks and Headley led off with consecutive singles. Matt Holliday then hit a long ball to score Hicks, and Headley and Holliday ended up in scoring position. Now, according to the scorekeeper, it was due to Holliday’s single and ended up at 2nd on the throw, so it was definitely not that Holliday actually hit a nice double and the Red Sox were slow in their defensive response.

With no outs yet, that would be the end of Boston’s starter’s outing (and Gardner on to pinch-run for Holliday). So, the new reliever still gave up a single to Starlin Castro that easily scored Headley for the extra run. But then a pop-up in foul territory and a simple ground into a double play ended the advancing of the Yankees’ lead.

Tanaka quickly shut them down in order in the bottom of the 9th, that 3rd out being his 14th straight batter he got out. So the Yankees celebrated victory of the game and the series after tonight’s game took just 2 hours and 21 minutes to play, thanks to the sharp pitching on both sides.

Final score: 3-0 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-0.

Injury news: Didi Gregorius is scheduled to make his season debut with the Yankees back in the Bronx at tomorrow’s game against the Orioles. A corresponding roster move will be announced tomorrow, but I expect it will be a bench player.

And Gary Sanchez should begin his rehab stint with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Tuesday. Sanchez has been doing some baseball exercises (throwing at a distance, swinging in the cages, etc.), but will need to work his way back to the Bronx, expecting to be back in the first part of May.

A fun stat that came out just after the game is that the Yankees now have the lowest team ERA in baseball (2.90). The next 5 teams are: White Sox (2.92), Orioles (3.41), Red Sox (3.42), Astros (3.48), and Dodgers (3.48). Yes, this means the Yankees’ pitchers are allowing less than 3 runs per game on average. Tonight’s shutout is proof of how this nice statistic came into being for the Yankees.

And now, it’s back to the Bronx…

Go Yankees!

Game 19: NYY vs. BOS — #AllRise, Judge & Severino take on Fenway

Consistent northeastern Spring rain spoiled the opening game at Fenway for the rivalry series yesterday, forcing a reschedule for when the teams face off again in The Olde Towne, the first game of a doubleheader on July 16. So, the Yankees were looking to recoup some of their magic they found in the Bronx last week in this now shortened series before heading back home again.

They definitely found it again, despite the cold air and the misty rain and the fog that settled in later in the game. This was thanks in part to some stellar pitching by starter Luis Severino. Severino threw 100 pitches in his 7 strong innings, giving up just 3 hits and 2 walks, and striking out 6 Boston batters, setting himself up for the eventual win. Dellin Betances breezed through the Red Sox lineup with just 13 pitches, including 2 nasty strikeouts, for the 8th inning.

At one point in the 3rd inning, right fielder Aaron Judge went running for a long foul ball and misjudged how high the wall was, tumbling over the edge headfirst as he caught the ball. He came up with the ball, but for some really weird reason, the umpires didn’t trust that he hadn’t just picked it up off the ground. (It’s weird because Judge is one of the more honest guys in the game, so if he dropped it, he’d say he dropped it.) This, of course, sent Girardi out of the dugout to ask for a replay, which took far too long and ultimately revealed what everyone already knew — Judge had the ball the whole time, so it was an out.

It was all smooth sailing for the Yankees. Especially because they gave their pitchers a nice lead to defend. In the 2nd, Castro reached 1st safely on a sloppy throwing error and then scored as part of Aaron Judge’s big 2-run home run over the right field wall. Then in the 6th, with 2 outs, Judge worked a walk, moved to 2nd on a wild pitch, and then scored on Greg Bird’s single off the Green Monster.

So, come the bottom of the 9th, all they needed was 3 solid outs for a nice win. But it’s Fenway. And when are these games ever so simple? Aroldis Chapman just struggled his way through the 9th inning. He allowed a lead-off walk and a double to put runners in scoring position, and a ground out scored a Red Sox run and got the first out of the inning. But then a wild pitch moved the lone runner to 3rd, a mere 90 feet from scoring another run. And then he walked the next batter. So, runners at the corners pushed Chapman to dig deep and get a much-needed strikeout. And then to atone for his outing, he took command again and got another one on his 33rd pitch of the inning to end the game and give him his 5th save of the season so far.

Final score: 3-1 Yankees

And in injury news: Didi Gregorius has been amazing with the Tampa Yankees during his rehab stint. He’s batting .444 with them, going 2-for-4 with a walk and RBI just tonight. His home run last night scored their only run of the game. In other words, things are looking good for him to rejoin the team for the next series, which starts Friday back in New York against the Orioles.

Okay, so what makes today’s game even more special is that the hero of tonight’s game, Aaron Judge, celebrated his 25th birthday today. (Happy Birthday!) So, his home run statistic is kind of a fun one. Apparently, despite the regularity of the rivalry series, Yankees who have homered against the Red Sox on their birthdays is a very small group of notable players — Judge today (age 25 in 2017) joins Cecil Fielder (age 33 in 1996), Roger Maris (age 32 in 1966), Yogi Berra (age 22 in 1947), Bill Dickey (age 26 in 1933), and Lou Gehrig (age 26 in 1929). Not a bad club to be part of.

Go Yankees!

Spring Game 26: BOS vs. NYY — Or rather Sale vs. the Yankees (the new rivalry?)

A nice night for a good old rivalry game. Not surprisingly, tonight was also the Yankees’ most-attended game so far this Spring, with about 500 more fans in attendance over the last home game on Saturday (and just 154 short of a sell-out). But the Red Sox are in town, so what do you expect?

Bryan Mitchell got the start tonight and, honestly, did a really great job in fending off the Red Sox. He gave up 7 hits but struck out 7 Boston batters, throwing into the 5th inning. A lead-off solo shot in the 3rd got the Red Sox on the board, and then a single and double put runners in scoring position. Another single scored one more run for the Red Sox, and with runners on the corners, there was still no outs. But then the guy on 1st made the mistake far too many players have learned this Spring: “you don’t run on Gary”. You run, you get caught stealing. Once that out was notched, 2 strikeouts followed and got Mitchell out of the Red Sox only real threat under his tenure.

Chapman was called in for 3 outs in the 5th and 6th innings. And Tommy Layne kept things interesting loading up the bases before getting out of the 6th unscathed.

Now, the Yankees were up against an absolutely stellar pitcher that the Red Sox just picked up from the White Sox this December. His name (Sale, as if you couldn’t pick that up from today’s title) is constantly thrown around with some of the best pitchers of the era, and deservedly so. He’s going to be a thorn in the Yankees’ side this season. The Yankees didn’t even get a hit off him until the 4th inning, and by then, he’d already racked up 7 of his total 10 strikeouts off Yankee batters. And the Yankees didn’t really even threaten until the 6th inning (his last). With 2 outs, Castro doubled, and Matt Holliday followed that up with a solid 2-run home run to tie up the game.

But the Red Sox followed up their new ace with a great show of the bullpen, adding 4 more strikeouts (for a total of 14) and just shutdown the Yankees’ roster for the rest of the game. To be fair, the Yankees’ pitchers had their own good stat — 12 strikeouts. But it would be the other stat that would sink today’s game — 13 allowed hits.

In the 7th, Luis Cessa came on and gave up a lead-off triple. Two ground outs later, that runner crossed the plate. An interesting play in this inning had outfielder Clint Frazier bounding head-over-heels into the Yankees’ bullpen to go after a foul ball. He ended up a little bruised, especially as he didn’t catch the ball, but the inning was over shortly thereafter. Cessa came back in the 8th for a cleaner inning, keeping the Red Sox close.

In the 9th, Niese took over. With 1 out, Niese hit a batter and then gave up a single (and all the Red Sox fans around felt the need to scream as if it was Game 7 of the World Series and their team was down). A deep single scored an insurance run for the Red Sox before Niese closed things out with 2 sharp strikeouts.

Thanks mostly to the Red Sox’s new ace, there was just no way the Yankees were going to win tonight.

Final score: 4-2 Red Sox

Player of the Game: this one was particularly difficult to call today for a single reason — there was basically no good or outstanding things by guys in the farm system today, usually found in the latter half of the game when they come on to replace all the starters (the guys on the 25- or 40-man roster). So, I’m going to break my own rule here. I’ve got to give it to Ronald Torreyes, who will probably be on the starting roster again this season. But he was just fantastic (as usual, I might add), especially at shortstop tonight, making 3 outstanding plays, including catching a couple of sharp line drives, and helped make the tag in Sanchez’s successful caught stealing  play in the 3rd inning. He’s really a joy to watch play the game.

Roster moves: after tonight’s game, infielder and top Yankee prospect Gleyber Torres was reassigned to minor league camp and AA Trenton. There was a lot of chatter about how Torres might make the big league roster this year, especially in light of some recent injuries. But I have to agree with the Yankees’ decision here. He’s clearly a good player, but he’s young and needs time in the farm system to develop his natural talent, power, and instinct to become the outstanding player they expect him to be in the next few years.

Speaking of injuries: the Yankees came out with an official diagnosis for injured Didi Gregorius. An MRI yesterday confirmed the deep bruise to his throwing shoulder, sustained during his time with the team representing the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. But they are going to be cautious as it has developed beyond just a bruise and into a strain of the muscle (the one that connects your shoulder blade and ball-and-socket joint in your shoulder). So, he’s now expected to miss the first month of the season. Bummer.

And speaking of the World Baseball Classic: the game last night between the Netherlands and Puerto Rico was amazing and tight, leading right up to extra innings. And now, in the 11th inning, teams start with 2 runners on base already (a rule I’m not really a fan of, truthfully). And in an 11th inning walk-off sacrifice fly, Puerto Rico saw their way into the final game, with their 4-3 victory. (Congrats, by the way, to the Netherlands, who really did an amazing job this tournament!)

Now, as I post tonight, the teams representing the United States and Japan are currently battling it out for the chance to face Puerto Rico in the final tomorrow night. Oh, and it’s raining pretty steadily in LA right now, with most fans watching from the concourse or hidden under those ugly plastic ponchos. It’s going to be a close game. And that’s what makes it good. At least to me.

Go Yankees!

Spring Games 5 & 6: DET vs. NYY & NYY vs. BOS — Split success amid heatwave

The Yankees played their first split squad games this Spring, and with impressively positive results. And it was a hot and sticky kind of day, but that didn’t seem to put a damper on the Yankees hitting some crucial home runs both at home and on the road.

Home: DET vs. NYY

I’m thinking it was the heat today, but the clock confirms that it was a rather long game at “The Boss” today, clocking in a 3 hours and 13 minutes (nearly an hour longer than yesterday’s game. The Tigers came for a visit and didn’t bother to show their teeth  until it was too late in the game to make much of a difference. (That was literally the only feline metaphor I could come up with, so I blame the sun.)

Masahiro Tanaka made his Spring debut today and came up with a clean sheet, striking out two batters over his two innings. While he seemed troubled with certain pitches in his bullpen sessions, getting back on the mound seemed to shake whatever cobwebs and rust might be lingering from the off-season. Behind Tanaka, the Yankees showed off some of their strong pitching staff of faces we’ve seen before (like Chasen Shreve, who made his Spring debut today too) and some deep in the farm system. And really only two pitchers had some issues against the Tigers today.

In the 7th, with 1 out and 2 runners on base with singles, a really solid 3-run home run put the Tigers on the board. Then with a runner on 2nd with a double, he and the batter switched places for a 4th run for the Tigers that inning alone. They capped off their run-scoring in the 8th with a lead-off solo home run.

This could’ve spelled bad news for the Yankees, except the starters turned over the game to the replacements with an 8-run lead, which started in the 3rd inning. With 2 outs, and Gardner on 1st with a single, Gary Sanchez hit his first home run of the season just over the left field fence for a 2-run homer. Chris Carter led-off the 4th inning with a solo home run into the left field seats. And the Yankees continued in that inning, taking advantage of the Tigers’ less than stellar pitching and defense. With 2 outs and Headley on 2nd with a nice double, he scored on Ruben Tejada’s single. But with the bases soon loaded with a single and walk, the Yankees failed to capitalize on that opportunity.

No worries, they came back to find another easy opportunity in the 5th inning. Holliday worked a walk to lead-off the inning and 2 wild pitches later, was standing on 3rd base. Another walk to Carter put runners on the corners. Holliday then scored on Starlin Castro’s single, which Chase Headley followed up with another RBI single. All this before there was a single out recorded in the inning. Two outs later, Clint Frazier came in to replace Gardner and promptly doubled home both runners.

To finish off the scoring, young infielder Thairo Estrada led-off the 7th inning with a solo home run, the second time he hit a home run in as many days.

Final score: 9-5 Yankees

Away: NYY vs. BOS

Now, just 2 hours south, the other part of the Yankees’ roster faced off with the Red Sox at their Spring home in Ft. Myers, affectionately known as “Fenway South”, with a sort of “Green Monster” out in left field and everything. And like they should, this was more of back-and-forth game deserving of the longstanding rivalry between the two teams.

Honestly, the pitching wasn’t as clean as the home team today, but the defense helped keep the Red Sox from doing too much damage. The Red Sox batters jumped on the board in the 2nd inning when a lead-off single scored on an RBI double. Then that runner scored on a 2-out RBI single, but the inning ended with sharply when the batter tried to make it a double and got caught at 2nd (thanks to the quick instincts of left fielder Rob Refsnyder). The Red Sox added another run in the 6th with a 1-out solo home run. And a 2-out single in the 8th scored on an RBI double to cap off their scoring.

The Yankees began and then countered the Red Sox’s scoring with their own offensive strength, helmed almost entirely by Greg Bird. With 1 out in the 1st, and Refsnyder on base with a single, Bird hit his first home run of the Spring, 2-run bomb off the right field foul pole. He came back in the 6th to lead off that inning with another home run, this one a solo shot over the “Green Monster”.

In the 7th, Gleyber Torres kicked of things with a walk, moved to 3rd on Kozma’s double, and then scored on Zehner’s sacrifice fly. And echoing what was happening a couple hours north, they loaded up the bases but couldn’t do anything to push their lead any further in that inning. So, the Yankees retook and kept the lead in the 8th when Payton led-off with a double and then scored on Torres’ single.

Final score: 5-4 Yankees

It is worth noting that the Yankees got 12 total hits in each game today off the opposing pitching staffs, if you’re into random bits of trivia that have no real purpose or meaning beyond just a simple statement.

Okay, my Player of the Game (I do home games only) is easily Clint Frazier. Yes, he’s been hyped a lot since the Yankees picked him up as part of the Andrew Miller trade last July (with Cleveland), and he shined in the Arizona Fall League last year. But there is definitely a reason people are talking about Frazier. Defensively, he dove for a great final out of the 8th inning, and offensively, his double scored 2 runs for the Yankees today. He really is the whole package, his distinctive red curls peeking out of his cap and everything.

Go Yankees!

{Media note: like it happens sometimes during Spring Training, neither games were heavily filmed, so we are limited to one shareable media link. Sorry!}