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Now It’s On

Posted By Cliff Corcoran On March 17, 2010 @ 11:17 pm In Cliff Corcoran | Comments Disabled

An ugly spring debut from Damaso Marte helped the Phillies beat the Yankees 6-2 [1] in Clearwater, but the story of the game was a strong four-inning appearance from Joba Chamberlain, who, having heard the gun, is finally keeping stride with Phil Hughes in the race for the final spot in the Opening Day rotation.


L – Brett Gardner (CF)
L – Nick Johnson (DH)
S – Mark Teixeira (1B)
R – Alex Rodriguez (3B)
R – Marcus Thames (LF)
S – Randy Winn (RF)
R – Francisco Cervelli (C)
S – Ramiro Peña (SS)
R – Kevin Russo (2B)

Subs: Juan Miranda (1B), Reegie Corona (2B), Eduardo Nuñez (SS), Jorge Vazquez (3B), Mike Rivera (C), David Winfree (RF), Reid Gorecki (CF), Jamie Hoffmann (LF), Jon Weber (DH)

Pitchers (IP): Andy Pettitte (4), Damaso Marte (four batters), Amaury Sanit (1), Joba Chamberlain (4)

Big Hits: Francisco Cervelli went 3-for-3 with an RBI double and is hitting .583 on the month. Brett Gardner went 2-for-3 with a triple courtesy of a missed diving catch by Shane Victorino in center. Gardner also stole his first base of the spring.

Who Pitched Well: In his first actual game action (he previously threw two simulated games, one to avoid travel, the other due to rain), Andy Pettitte struck out four in four innings against just one walk. He did allow a pair of runs on five hits, but threw just 55 pitches. Amaury Sanit retired all three men he faced, striking out two. He hasn’t issued a walk or allowed a run in 3 2/3 innings this spring.

Most importantly, Joba Chamberlain answered the bell with four strong innings (including an unofficial bottom of the ninth with the home-team Phillies in the lead). He did allow a run, but on a well-placed bloop double over Kevin Russo’s head and a single. He also struck out five against just one walk after getting just two Ks against six walks in his previous 3 2/3 innings. Like Hughes on Tuesday, he did it over the game’s final four innings, but he faced a better group of hitters than Hughes did against a split-squad Astros road team. Having needed just 47 pitches to get through those four frames, Joba threw about 15 more in the bullpen. During the game, Chamberlain was not only efficient but was working quickly, showing the aggressive approach that so often seemed missing last year but showed its head in his three strong starts after the All-Star break. That is a very good indicator, as is the fact that his slider had that nasty break to it as seen in the highlight reel found here [2]. Both of those things suggest that this fifth-starter battle could live up to its billing after all.

Who Didn’t: In his first spring appearance, Damaso Marte faced four batters without getting an out. Switch-hitters Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino singled. Righty Jayson Werth hit a three-run home run. Lefty Ryan Howard then singled off Marte, bouncing him from the game.

Ouchies: Howard’s liner hit Damaso Marte in the lower back and left a bruise. Marte was doing his exercises before the game was over and said he was fine after, but the Yankees might push back his next appearance to be on the safe side.

Other: Having finally faced major league batters, Andy Pettitte may have to start a minor league game his next time out so that Chamberlain can get his full pitch load in the major league game.

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URLs in this post:

[1] 6-2: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/boxscore.jsp?gid=2010_03_17_nyamlb_phimlb_1

[2] here: http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100317&content_id=8821794&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy

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