Tuesday, March 18, 2014

By: Gavin Ewbank | Lead Writer

There's no other way to look at it: Michael Pineda is all but certain to be the Yankees' fifth starter this season. In his second start of spring training, Pineda added to his brilliant spring resume by tossing 4.1 scoreless innings in the Yankees' 8-1 win over the Tuesday Boston Red Sox Tuesday afternoon in Tampa.

The Yankees used a four-run inning against Red Sox starter Felix Doubront to put them ahead big early in the game, and they never looked back, beating Boston in the first of two spring meetings.

Pineda looked just as sharp as he has all spring. He struck out five in before hitting his 60-pitch limit with one out in the 5th inning, giving up just four hits and no walks.

In 9 innings pitched this spring, Pineda has struck out 14 while issuing just one walk. One very noticeable thing is that when he misses on pitch, it's usually down in the strike zone, which is a good thing. I don't know how he wouldn't be named the fifth starter at this point.

The Yankees jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the 1st inning on a soft liner to center field off the bat of Alfonso Soriano, who is coming into form after missing a decent chunk of time early in camp with the flu. After flying out the wall in center field in his second at-bat of the game, Soriano hit a three-run homerun to left field in his third at-bat, which extended the Yankees' lead to 8-0.

Soriano went 2-for-4 in the game with four RBIs. I have liked the way he's been swinging the bat this spring, and don't have any worries about him be a more-than-half decent hitter in the Bronx this season.

The Yankees did most of their damage against Doubront and the Sox in the four-run 2nd inning.

Both Ichiro Suzuki, who hasn't played too badly this spring, and Derek Jeter singled home runs, and then Mark Teixeira came up a couple batters later and singled into left field to plate two more.

As the spring has gone on, Teixeira has been playing well enough to make most of the questions surrounding his right wrist go away. Like a lot of others, he is swinging the bat well down here in Tampa, and assuming he can stay healthy, he should have a pretty good season.

After Soriano's homerun in the 4th inning, the Red Sox would end up tallying the only other run of the game in the 7th inning on a Jonathan Herrera single off of David Henderson.

In all, the Yankees collected 14 hits this afternoon -- 13 in the first four innings. This was one of the few times this spring that they played with almost their complete Opening Day lineup, minus Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann.

Out of the bullpen, David Robertson took over for Pineda in the 5th and gave up a single to the first hitter he faced, but came back to strikeout the next two. Shawn Kelley, Fred Lewis and Matt Daley all pitched perfect innings in the 6th, 8th, and 9th.

The Yankees will travel up to Orlando tomorrow to take on the Atlanta Braves. Ivan Nova will start that 1:05pm ET matchup, and Jeter will also be making the trip for his first road game this spring.


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