Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Three of the Yankees' four big offseason acquisitions made their spring training debuts Wednesday, and two of the three made great impression in a game that the Yankees would end up losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-5, because of a bullpen implosion, Tuesday in Bradenton, Florida.

Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran were all in the lineup for the Bombers in their first Grapefruit league game of the spring, and they got to work quickly.

McCann drove in the first run of the game after Ellsbury drew a walk to lead off the top of the 1st inning, moving over to 2nd base on a line drive up the middle by Yangervis Solarte. Solarte got to third base in the single by McCann and then scored on a base hit by Ramon Flores, who now has 2 RBIs in two games this spring.

With two outs in the 2nd inning, Ellsbury drew his second walk of the game that led to Solarte blasting a two-run homerun off of Edinson Volquez, giving the Yankees a 4-0 lead.

Ellsbury finished the game 1-for-1 with two runs and two walks, and Beltran went 0-for-3.

Ellsbury said after the game that he did things the same way he would in his days with the Boston Red Sox.

"Typically for the most part I like to see as many pitches as I can in spring training but you still want to be aggressive in the zone, so there’s that fine line," he said. "I think it worked out great. Getting on base, and having these type of hitters hitting behind you, that’s one big reason to sign over here."

Ivan Nova, who is penciled in as the Yankees' No. 4 starter this season, was on the the mound for the Bombers, but didn't make it very far before hitting his 35 pitch limit.

He asked to stay in, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasn't for it.

“He did OK,” Girardi said. “I thought his arm strength was good, and he threw some good curveballs. It was a day that there were a few walks today, and you try to eliminate those as time goes on.”

He gave the ball off to Bruce Billings in the 2nd inning, leaving a pair of runners on the corner. The Pirates would score both of those runs, cutting the lead in half to 4-2.

Nova was tallied with two runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings. He only faced eight batters, walking two and striking out one in his first start of the spring.

"Good, real good," Nova said of his outing. "More than what I was expecting in the first game. I feel really good. The ball was coming out of my hand really good. I feel great.

"The way I feel physically [was encouraging]. I’m really happy to be back on the mound. It’s been a long time. I know I was throwing to the hitters in BP, but it’s not the same. To have your teammates behind you, and the umpire, and the fans; it was a great day today."

After replacing Ellsbury in center field, Mason Williams doubled to center field in the 7th inning to score Francisco Garcia, pushing the Yankees' lead to 5-2.

But entering the game with a three-run lead, we found out that it was not a good day to be Chase Whitley.

He gave up a single to open the innings, then hit the next batter, putting runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. And then Tony Sanchez made him pay by launching a three-run homerun to center field, tying the game at 5-5.

Pittsburgh added one more run in the after Preston Claiborne came into the game for Whitley. Addison Maruszak missed a ground ball, plating the Pirates' fourth run of the inning. And you guessed it, the Pirates went on to win the game.

Dellin Betances had a pretty good day out of the bullpen. He didn't walk anybody in two innings, giving up just one hit, while striking out two. Obviously that is something that the Yankees would be more than happy with on a daily basis if he can win a bullpen job.

These two teams will be back at tomorrow when Derek Jeter makes his spring debut, playing in his first game since September of last season. That game be in Tampa, and can also be seen on YES at 1:05pm EST. David Phelps will be on the mound for the Yankees.


Gavin Ewbank is the Lead Writer of Yanks Beat Blog and you can follow him on Twitter @GavinEwbank.


Post a Comment