Phillies @ Yankees:
Cole Hamels vs. Bartolo Colon
- Nice tribute to George Steinbrenner at George Steinbrenner Field this afternoon. I just hope they don’t have that Haley Swindell sing the National Anthem at every home game.
- Solid inning for the not-as-heavy-as-we-remember Bartolo Colon. Looked to have rung up lead off man Pete Orr(filling in for Chase Utley at 2nd base) but got him to ground to Cano. Ross Gload singled on a sharp ball up the middle and Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard flew out to center and left respectively. Yankees heading up for their first at bat.
- Cole Hamels takes the mound for the Phils in the first and gets the active major league hits leader, Derek Jeter, to ground out to short; have to get that ground ball rate down Jeets. Nick Swisher proceeded to strike out on a high fast ball from Hamels which only came in at 87 MPH. Mark Texieria was plunked on the foot by the first pitch he saw and ARod’s swing looks fluid and he got a great piece of one but not enough juice as he flew out to center. End of the 1st, 0-0.
- Ben Francisco blasted a laser beam into the right-center gap which was misplayed by Nick Swisher and allowed Francisco to end up on third for a triple. Colon seems to not have great command as he is getting into many deep counts early on and after taking Dom Brown to 3-2 walked him on a close inside pitch. Brandon Larish tapped one to short which lead to the first double play(beautiful turn at 2nd by Cano) and first run of the year as Francisco scored. Former Met, Brian Schiender grounded to first to gold glove first baseman Texieria. Cano coming up.
- Cano’s bouncer up the middle was ruled an error by Wilson Valdez at short but there was no shot he would have thrown him out at first. This at bat was followed up by a weak pop out to short by Posada and a Granderson strikeout on a change up with some nasty bite by Hamels. The Yankees strike as Francisco Cervelli, who is battling for the Yanks back up catcher job, gets himself off to a good start ripping a double into the left field corner, allowing Cano to score all the way from first. Brett Gardner continues his great pitch selection by working a walk in his first spring at bat. Derek Jeter, sporting a new stride-less approach, again struggles to get through an inside pitch and pounds it into the ground for an easy out to third. End of the 2nd, 1-1.
- Heading into the third the Yankees hand the ball off from one big boy to another beefer, Joba Chamberlain. Joba has changed his mechanics to bring his hands down during his delivery and is pitching purely out of the stretch. After a strike out to Phils utility infielder, Wilson Valdez, Pete Orr grounded out to second base for the 2nd time. Ross Gload pops out to ARod at third. Much has been made of Joba’s “weight gain” this off season. It looks as though he is more muscular for sure and not fatter. He looked good in his first inning of work with a fast ball between 92 and 94 with a nice biting, only to get better considering its still February, slider.
- Cole Hamels day is also done as the Phils bring in Vance Worley, a 23 year old minor league starter. There is no chance he makes the Phillies rotation we already know that but the bullpen may not be out of the question. Worley got Nick Swisher to fly to center and Texieria to ground out to short. ARod, who looks to be in tremendous shape, roped a double to the wall in right-center. Worley missed his spot as an outside pitch tailed back into the middle of the plate. Robbie Cano ends the inning with a tap out to short. End of the 3rd, 1-1.
- The man in competition with Joba for next in line after Mariano and Soriano, David Robertson takes over in the 4th inning for the Yankees. Robbie makes quick work of Raul Ibanez striking him out on a nice change. Robertson is showing great command throwing 5 straight strikes to start the inning and then getting Howard to fly to Greg Golson, the new center fielder. Even when Robertson is missing he is just missing on his pitches, as he just though ball four to Ben Francisco was strike three. After a wild pitch, the only poor pitch thrown by Robertson in the inning, he comes back to strike out Dom Brown on a heater.
- One of the newest Yankees, Andruw Jones, steps into the box against Vance Worley. Jones, although not what he once was, still knocks around left handed pitching and will provide much better defense than Marcus Thames did last year. Andruw works a walk. Golson lines out to center on a hanger by Worley. Cervelli hits the ball hard on the ground to short for the Phillies first double play of the game. End of the 4th, 1-1.
- New pitcher on the mound for the Yankees is David Phelps. Phelps has had a very good minor league career thus far and he is only 24 years old this year. The lanky starter may have an outside chance at the Yankees 5th starter as he looks good early on throwing 91-92 with good offspeed stuff. Larish strikes out for the first out against Phelps. Veteran catcher, Schneider swings at a bad pitch and pops up to new shortstop Eduardo Nunez. Phelps leaves two fastballs up and over the plate leading to a hard Valdez single up the middle and blast to the wall by Pete Orr for an RBI double. Another pitch up leads to an RBI single by Ross Gload and the Phillies take a 3-1 lead in the 5th inning. John Mayberry Jr, replacing Raul Ibanez, finally ends the inning by flying to center. After a solid start Phelps lost it a bit and has a rough first inning of the spring.
- Ryan Feierabend now in for the the Phillies, another young player probably just getting work in who will not be making the major league roster. The tall lefty starts off with a strikeout of Colin Curtis and then nearly has his head taken off by an Eduardo Nunez knock up the middle. Nunez is attempting to make the big league club as a back up infielder for the Yanks. Justin Maxwell, traded to New York from the Washington Nationals and replacing Nick Swisher in the game, comes to the plate as Eduardo Nunez swipes 2nd base. Maxwell flies to left. It may just be the fact that I am so antsy and happy that baseball is back but every ball in the air looks as though it is going to get out of the park off the bat. Texieria almost actually does hit one out as he triples off the left center field wall. Brandon Laird popped out to short to end the inning. End of the 5th, 3-2 Phillies.
- Hector Noesi comes in to pitch for the Yankees in the 6th inning and gets former Angel, Robb Quinnlan, to fly out to deep right. Noesi had a 86:18 K:BB ratio at AA-Trenton last season. He certainly will has a future in the game as he continues to progress and mature. Delwyn Young, not to be confused with Delmon;no relation, flies to center and Dom Brown lined out to right. Speaking of Dominic Brown, still unsure what to think of this kid. May not be a major league caliber talent quite yet but also may be a better option than Ben Francisco out in right field to replace Jayson Werth.
- Kevin Russo goes down swinging in his first at bat this spring, he did not look particularly comfortable at the plate right there. Andruw Jones walked on four straight pitches in his 2nd plate appearance and is almost immediately picked off first. Feieraband is struggling with his command this inning, throwing a ton of balls and registering his second walk as he gives Greg Golson a free pass. Golson is balked over to 2nd base(may be Feieraband’s 2nd balk but none was called on the Jones pick off.) Austin Romine, Yankees top tier catching prospect(they have plenty of them,) takes over for Cervelli and pops out in foul territory to end the inning. Romine is known for being a great defensive catcher and his bat has been following suite in recent years. He is certainly one of the many options to be the Yankees catcher of the future. End of the 7th, 3-2 Phillies.
- That will mark the end of today’s commentary as the rest of the game will essentially be irrelevants. Stay tuned for more to come this week and all of Spring Training.