The fifth starter battle started with a fizzle on Friday as Phil Hughes underwhelmed and Joba Chamberlain, weakened by the flu, was flat-out awful. Things didn’t get much better after that as the Rays scored in six different innings. The Yankees, meanwhile, haven’t scored prior to the fifth inning in any of their three games this spring, though their subs put together a nice rally in the seventh on Friday. After the smoke cleared, the Rays had won 11-7.
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
R – Mark Teixeira (1B)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
R – Marcus Thames (LF)
R – Robinson Cano (2B)
S – Nick Swisher (RF)
R – Francisco Cervelli (C)
Subs: Juan Miranda (1B), Reegie Corona (2B), Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Kevin Russo (3B), Jesus Montero (C), Jon Weber (LF), Greg Golson (CF), Reid Gorecki (LF), Jorge Vazquez (DH)
Pitchers (IP): Phil Hughes (2), Joba Chamberlain (1 1/3), Kevin Whelan (4 batters), Kei Igawa (1 2/3), David Robertson (1), Hector Noesi (1), Grant Duff (1), Dustin Moseley (2/3), Jeremy Bleich (1/3)
Big Hits: Robinson Cano (2-for-2) doubled in the fifth and scored on a single by Francisco Cervelli (2-for-2), who “tripled” in his previous at-bat on what looked like a single into the left field gap that was misplayed by Sean Rodriguez. In the Yankees’ six-run seventh, Eduardo Nuñez, Juan Miranda, Kevin Russo, and Jorge Vazquez each doubled in a run, all were 1-for-2, save Miranda who was 1-for-3. Russo’s double came on a 70 mph changeup from lefty sidearmer R.J. Swindle that he flinched at twice before lacing to the opposite field. Nick Swisher (0-1) drew the Yankees first walk of the spring.
Who Pitched Well: Kei Igawa entered with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth and stranded all three runners, then pitched a perfect fifth. He struck out two along the way. David Robertson threw a perfect sixth striking out one. Jeremy Bleich threw one pitch, but it came with runners on base and resulted in an inning-ending groundout in the ninth.
Who Didn’t: Have a seat. Grab a snack . . .
Phil Hughes gave up just one run on a wind-blown solo homer, but he didn’t strike anyone out, wasn’t locating his breaking stuff, didn’t break 91 mph on the gun, and was generally less impressive than his results. He was still far better than what followed. Joba Chamberlain, having just recovered from a flu which carved eight pounds off his frame, gave up five runs on a double, two triples, and three walks and was pulled two outs short of his intended two innings. He looked awful, but I doubt anyone’s going to hold it against him. The important thing is that he got his throwing in and didn’t fall behind schedule due to his illness.
Two of Chamberlain’s runs scored after he left the game. Kevin Whelan came in with men on first and second, bounced a pitch to move them up, then gave up a single to score them both, though I’d argue that Derek Jeter should scooped up that worm-burner to his left. Whelan then gave up a double and issued a walk and got the hook.
In the eighth, Grant Duff gave up three runs on two walks, a single, and a triple. In the ninth, Dustin Moseley gave up another run on two hits and two walks and was pulled with two outs.
Nice Plays: Derek Jeter made a nice backhanded play on a hotshot to shortstop to start the game. Robinson Cano made ranging, over-the-shoulder running catch in shallow left, then later backed up a bad throw from catcher to first base, spun and threw out the runner at second. In the seventh, Juan Miranda made a nice back-handed grab of a foul ball near the stands and quickly fired back in to hold the runner at second.
Oopsies: On the very next play, Miranda booted a low throw from Eduardo Nuñez. Nuñez got the error. In the third, Nick Swisher fell down after taking too large of a secondary a lead off first base and was doubled off.
Ouchies: Swisher appeared to jam his right wrist on that fall, but stayed in the game. Nick Johnson (back) thinks he can play, but the Yankees are going to give him Saturday off and leave him off the bus trip on Sunday. He should return to game action on Monday.
Other: Thanks to everyone who joined in for my liveblog of the game.