The Yankees ended a four-game losing streak with a pair of wins on Monday, their B-team blanking a split-squad Pirates team 6-0 on the road under manager Mick Kelleher, and their A-team eking out a 7-5 win over a full-squad Phillies team at the Boss, six of those runs coming against ex-Yankee Jose Contreras. I’ll break them both down, the A-game first.
Yankees 7, Phillies 5
L – Brett Gardner (CF)
L – Nick Johnson (DH)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
L – Robinson Cano (2B)
S – Nick Swisher (RF)
R – Marcus Thames (LF)
R – Kevin Russo (3B)
S – Ramiro Peña (SS)
Pitchers (IP): Javier Vazquez (2), Jonathan Albaladejo (1), David Robertson (2/3), Amaury Sanit (1 1/3), Christian Garcia (2), Zach Segovia (1 1/3), Kevin Whelan (2/3)
Big Hits: Nick Swisher cracked two booming doubles, one to each gap, in three at-bats, driving in three runs. Robinson Cano doubled and singled in two at-bats and drove in two. Kevin Russo played the entire game, doubling, singling, and walking in four trips. Split-squad call-up David Adams doubled in in his only at-bat.
Who Pitched Well: Javier Vazquez, who was given the derogatory nickname “Home Run Javy” during his 2004 stint in New York, gave up home run to Jimmy Rollins on his first pitch back in a Yankee uniform (a fastball right down the middle), but that was the only baserunner he allowed as he struck out four of the other six hitters he faced. Kevin Whelan retired the only two men he faced in the ninth, striking out one of them, stranding the tying runs on base and picking up the save. Christian Garcia allowed a solo homer to John Mayberry Jr. and a walk in two innings while striking out two. Amaury Sanit stranded two inherited runners and pitched around a pair of singles in an inning and a third, striking out two.
Who Didn’t: David Robertson got to 3-2 on Jayson Werth with two outs and the bases empty, but just missed outside with ball four. He then allowed an RBI double, an RBI single, a stolen base, and another walk before getting pulled.
Nice Plays: Robinson Cano made a modest dive to his left to flag down a would-be hit in the first. Ramiro Peña made a nice ranging play to snag a ball behind second base and start a 6-4-3 double play.
Oopsies: Split-squad call-up Jimmy Paredes wiffed on a grounder at third by trying to style rather than square up the ball.
Ouchies: Francisco Cervelli was cleared to resume light baseball activities by the neurologist. He could appear in Friday’s game. Damaso Marte threw a bullpen without issue. Nick Johnson walked in three trips as the DH and said afterwords that he felt no discomfort. Johnson had tweaked his back on Thursday by wearing spikes rather than turf shoes for batting practice. The Yankees use an artificial turf covering to protect the dirt at home plate during BP, and Johnson caught a spike and wrenched his back. Such is Nick Johnson. Speaking of which, Chan Ho Park was scratched from his first BP session due to tweaking a glute during some running, though he reported no pain and will get his session in on Tuesday.
Michael Kay nugget: Recounting the Jose Contreras signing, Kay said, “I don’t know if it’s urban legend or not, but when the Yankees ended up signing him, Theo Epstein took a chair and threw it through a window.” The story is most likely untrue, and there are some similarly unverifiable stories of Epstein breaking a door and a window, but the widely circulated version of the story describes Epstein breaking a chair, not throwing it through a window. Perhaps I’m nit picking, but Kay proved he could even make up made up stuff.
More significantly, Kay referred to David Adams as Eduardo Nuñez in consecutive half innings, failing to correct himself even after Adams was shown in a medium shot after a nifty double-play he turned with Ramiro Peña. Nor did he address the mistake when Adams came to bat a couple of innings later. In Kay’s defense, Adams was wearing Nuñez’s number 94, but, well, click on those links again. Nuñez has been in most of the games thus far, Kay should know what he looks like. He did notice that dark-skinned Dominican third baseman Jimmy Paredes was not Caucasian outfield Jon Weber in the ninth despite similar number overlap.
Yankees 6, Pirates 0
R – Derek Jeter (SS)
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
R – Randy Winn (RF)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L – Juan Miranda (1B)
R – Mike Rivera (C)
R – Jamie Hoffmann (LF)
R – P.J. Pilittere (DH)
S – Reegie Corona (2B)
Subs: Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Brandon Laird (3B), Austin Romine (C), Jon Weber (RF), Greg Golson (CF), Kyle Higashioka (DH)
Pitchers (IP): Alfredo Aceves (4), Ivan Nova (2), Zach McAllister (2), Jason Hirsch (1)
Big Hits: They spread it around pretty well. Four Yankees doubled including Juan Miranda (2-for-4, RBI), Eduardo Nuñez (2-for-2, RBI), Brandon Laird (1-for-2), Kyle Higashioka (1-for-2), and Greg Golson (1-for-2). Not included in those five was Jon Weber, who went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, or Alex Rodriguez, who had a two-RBI single in three trips.
Who Pitched Well: Everyone. The Pirates managed just a single (off Nova) and two walks (off Nova and McAllister) in the game. Aceves struck out three in his four innings, and all four of the Yankee pitchers in this game have 0.00 ERAs in the early going this spring.
Oopsies: Eduardo Nuñez made two errors in half a game at shortstop (one fielding, one throwing), and has three already this spring.
Other: Veterans Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Randy Winn, and Alex Rodriguez skipped the long trip to Fort Myers on Sunday, so they made the shorter trip to Bradenton on Monday.