That was certainly some ballgame. I’m going to coin a phrase here and call that the Spring Trainingiest Spring Training game I’ve ever seen. The Detroit Tigers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead while the New York Yankees were held hitless through three innings by Mike Pelfrey. Then all of a sudden the Yankees stormed back with eight unanswered runs to take an 8-7 lead into the ninth. Detroit responded with a go-ahead two-run homer to re-take the lead only to have the Yankees walk it off when the left fielder dropped a fly ball. As I said, Spring Trainingiest Spring Training game ever.
For the first Spring Training game of the year, it was an entertaining way to begin the exhibition season. I’ll take a crazy and slightly sloppy 10-9 game on March 2nd over a 2-1 snoozefest. Regular season? Well that’s a different story. First game of Spring, give me chaos and that’s exactly what today’s game was.
Here are some players that had notable performances for the Yankees:
Luis Severino: First game of the year, live broadcast on the YES Network, playing at home in the classic pinstripes, it was nice to have the phenom Luis Severino start the ballgame for the Yankees. He came out of the gate strong enducing two lazy grounders to shortstop Didi Gregorius and then finishing off the inning by blowing a 95 MPH heater past Justin Upton.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 2, 2016
Then the second inning came and he just fell apart. After giving up a single that put him in the stretch, he lost all control of his pitches and got shelled. The end of his outing came when he gave up a grand slam to make it 5-0 Detroit. There’s no reason to overreact as it’s the first game of the Spring and players are just shaking off the rust. Severino’s pitches seemed lively and he came away healthy which is the most important thing. There’s no reason to worry about him whatsoever.
Starlin Castro: One of the Yankees’ big additions this offseason was middle infielder Starlin Castro from the Chicago Cubs. Castro will be the starting second baseman opposite Gregorius at short and he showed off his skill in his Yankee Spring debut today. On the defensive side of things, he made a terrific play ranging to the SS side of second base and throwing across his body to get the runner at first. It was, dare I say it, Robinson Cano-esque. Then with his bat he shined as well going 2-3 with an RBI and run scored. Didi and Starlin up the middle can be quite the duo for years to come.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 2, 2016
Austin Romine: One of the battles this Spring for the Yankees is backup catcher. After trading away John Ryan Murphy to the Twins, there’s a real decision that needs to be made as to who gets the spot behind Brian McCann. Gary Sanchez appears to be the catcher of the future, but it might make more sense to let him develop in Triple-A by playing every day and have Austin Romine serve the backup role. The key question is will Romine hit enough at the ML level? He has a terrific glove and arm, but his bat was always a question. Today he took a nice step going 2-3 with a booming double and the game-tying single in the ninth inning. If he shows he can hit, odds are he begins the season in New York.
Johnny Barbato: This may be an unfamiliar name to many people, but Johnny Barbato may just be a dark horse in the battle for open middle relief spots. The Yankees have a few locks in their bullpen, but there are several places to be won. Barbato had a real nice outing today going 1.1 innings, giving up a hit and striking out two. He also hit a batter when a curveball slipped out of his hand. I really liked what I saw out of him. He has a heavy fastball that sits around 95 MPH, a tight slider and a very sharp breaking curve. Last season when he got promoted to Triple-A he went 4-0 in 14 games with a 0.36 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Keep an eye on him this Spring and see if he can win one of those relief roles.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 3, 2016
Jorge Mateo: First off let me say WOW can this kid fly. His speed is the real deal. Jorge Mateo led off the ninth inning tripling to left field(!!!!) and even more crazy is that he wasn’t busting it to first because he thought he hit a home run. This kid went half speed to first – which isn’t a good thing – and still comfortably tripled to the hardest part of the ballpark to triple to. Even more impressive is he did so in a clutch situation which led to the Yankees tying and eventually winning the game. No, wins and losses don’t matter in Spring Training, but good situational baseball is always important and Mateo showed why he’s one of the Yankees’ top prospects.