Sunday, March 16, 2014

By: Josh Sabo | Minor League Writer

We're entering the part of spring training where stats start to mean slightly more. Teams are beginning to bring out out their real lineups, and are starting to allow their pitchers to throw more. Today the Yankees essentially faced the Braves starting lineup and Masahiro Tanaka was allowed to throw 74 pitches.

The Braves lineup didn't seem to faze Tanaka, as he looked excellent. He allowed one run in 4.1 innings, and struck out six batters. He struck out the following batters: Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton, Ryan Doumit, B.J Upton, Ernesto Mejia, and Tyler Greene. The one run he did allow was greatly aided by the wind, and probably should have been a fly out.

The Braves other three runs came in the 5th, 8th and 9th innings. In the fifth Matt Thornton allowed Jason Heyward to hit a double and then gave up a single to B.J Upton that scored the Braves second run. Thornton was throwing 93, but didn't look great. Considering that Heyward is a lefty Thornton really didn't do his job. I'd still feel comfortable using him as the primarily loogy, but he hasn't missed many bats this spring.

The Braves third run came in the 8th when Shane Greene allowed a homerun versus Justin Upton. The homerun was Greene's only bad pitch, as he looked very good versus the Braves starting lineup. Greene was able to strike-out Tyler Greene, Andrelton Simmons, B.J Upton, and Ernesto Meija. He really has nice off-spead stuff to go with a pretty good 2-seamer. Greene will start in Trenton and based what I've seen this spring should be Yankee eventually.

The final run came off Dillon Betances who finally had a shaky outing. He allowed a walk and a hit-by-pitch, but overall still looked solid. The run scored on a force-out and he got out of a jam with a strike-out. I think he has already won a bullpen spot, but he still shouldn't be hitting and walking people.

The Yankees scored most of their runs in the 5th, as they exploded for 6 runs, their other run came in the 2nd and gave them a early 1-0 lead.  The second inning run came off a RBI from Ichiro Suzuki which scored Ramon Flores. It should be noted that Flores and Mason Williams singled off of Julio Teheran; this is a pretty impressive feat for two of the team's better prospects.

The Yankees scored the rest of their runs in the fifth as Atahualpa Severino, was pretty wild. He began the inning by walking Ichiro and Eduardo Nunez. He recovered slightly by getting Mark Teixeira to pop-up. But Mccann came through with a 1 out double, to score two runs. Kelly Johnson then hit a line-drive single, which moved pinch-runner, Kyle Roller to third. Another hit by Ramon Flores scored Roller, and a wild pitch scored Kelly Johnson one batter later. A sac fly by Mason Williams and a fielding error allowed the Yankees to score two more runs, which was enough to win the game.

Other notes should include the fact that Shawn Kelley  had a perfect inning in the sixth and has really had a good spring, and that Mccann and Johnson really look good at the plate. But the main takeaway from this game is that Tanaka looks like a legitimate number 2 starter. He barely threw his fastball but was able to to throw it hard when he was in a jam. For this reason people shouldn't be that concerned with his velocity readings from Japan, as he knew what he was doing there. He saves his velocity for when he needs it.

It should also be noted that Ichiro, Flores and Williams all looked good today and show just how much depth this team has in their outfield.


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