Ex-Tigers Curtis Granderson and Marcus Thames got the job done against Detroit’s lefty starter as A.J. Burnett and the Yankees beat Nate Robertson and the Tigers’ starters 2-1.
L – Brett Gardner (LF)
L – Nick Johnson (1B)
S – Jorge Posada (C)
R – Marcus Thames (DH)
L – Curtis Granderson (CF)
S – Randy Winn (RF)
S – Ramiro Peña (SS)
R – Kevin Russo (2B)
R – Brandon Laird (3B)
Pitchers (IP): A.J. Burnett (6 2/3), David Robertson (1/3), Chan Ho Park (1), Joba Chamberlain (1)
Big Hits: A solo home run by Marcus Thames off lefty Nate Robertson leading off the fourth inning. In his other three trips, Thames walked once, also against Robertson, and struck out twice. Doubles by Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson (both 2-for-4), also off the lefty Robertson. Granderson’s was an RBI double in the first and an encouraging sign for the left-handed-hitting outfielder. It’s worth noting that every Yankee outfielder who could find himself in a platoon was in the otherwise-thin lineup against the lefty Robertson. In addition to Thames and Granderson, Randy Winn and Brett Gardner combined to go 0-for-7 with a walk taken by Gardner. Posada was on the trip to catch Burnett. Lefty-hitting Nick Johnson was the only other Yankee starter on the trip.
Who Pitched Well: A.J. Burnett walked more men than he struck out (three to two), but allowed just one run (scored by Johnny Damon after his third-inning double) on three hits and those three walks. Burnett didn’t throw any changups and said after the game that his curve wasn’t working. Kudos to Burnett and Posada for their success despite those handicaps. Chan Ho Park pitched around a double for a scoreless eighth. Joba Chamberlain, in his thrilling return to short relief work, worked around a pair of singles for a scoreless ninth. Throwing only fastballs and sliders, he struck out one and topped out at 94 mph on the gun. David Robertson faced two men and walked the first, but he only needed on out and he got it before that runner could advance.
Nice Plays: I didn’t see the game, but reportedly Randy Winn made a few nice ones in right, including one sliding catch after which he popped up and fired to Posada at first base to double off aptly named pinch-runner Michael Rockett.
Oopsies: None. Have you noticed that as we get closer to Opening Day, the players get closer to regular season form, and the minor leaguers get farmed out, there are fewer and fewer errors? It’s as if spring training actually serves a purpose and major leaguers deserve to be where they are.
Other: Spring training stats are largely meaningless, but for what little they’re worth, here are the hitting lines on a couple of 2010 Tigers who played in this game:
Johnny Damon: .341/.396/.568 (2 SBs in 2 tries)
Austin Jackson: .339/.413/.554 (3 3Bs, 3 SB in 4 tries)
Also, Ian Kennedy has made the Diamondback’s rotation, but with Jayson Heyward officially the Braves’ Opening Day right fielder, Melky Cabrera has been bumped out of Atlanta’s lineup, thus beginning his career as a journeyman fourth outfielder.
Also, note on the Upcoming Schedule on the sidebar that CC Sabathia will pitch the road day game against the Braves while Sergio Mitre will start the night home game against the Blue Jays (I originally had their assignments the other way). I assume this is to prevent the Jays from getting an extra look at Sabathia with the season almost here, but it’s just as likely to let CC have his evening off. I can’t imagine the Yankees are that worried about Toronto. The unfortunate side-effect is that Mitre will now be pitching the televised game. Unfortunate for most, that is, I’m curious to watch him pitch given how well he’s been doing this spring and the fact that he’s still in competition for the Opening Day roster.