With Chris Capuano out of the Opening Day rotation, Adam Warren has a key opportunity. After his failed attempt at starting before moving to the bullpen in a middle reliever role, Warren now has a chance to clinch the fifth starting spot, and today he took a big step in achieving that goal.
Today the Yankees faced off against the Detroit Tigers, and Warren faced off against new Tiger Alfredo Simon. Simon, in a word, was terrible. In just the first inning, Simon allowed: a triple to Brett Gardner, a double to Brendan Ryan (!!), an RBI single to Brian McCann, a single to Garrett Jones, a double to Jose Pirela, and a two-run home run to Rob Refsnyder. That all adds up to six runs in total. Wowza.
That was all the scoring that would happen until the fifth inning, as Warren's first four innings were scoreless and Simon threw two more scoreless innings and was relieved by Joe Nathan who pitched one scoreless frame. They then each grabbed a run in the fifth, both on solo home runs: Alex Rodriguez hit a home run off of Bruce Rondon, and Yoenis Cespedes hit a home run off of Warren, Warren's only earned run of the afternoon. Adam Warren's final line was: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 SO.
Just when it seemed that a 7-2 lead was fine enough, the Yankees decided to tack on three more runs in the top of the eighth. Jonathan Galvez drove in two with an RBI triple, and Cole Figueroa brought one in due to a fielding error by Tigers shortstop Josh Wilson.
And then just to top it off in the ninth, Slade Heathcott tripled and Nick Noonan drove him in on a sacrifice fly to bring home one more run; it was then 11-2 in favor of the Yankees.
After Warren was taken out of the game, the Yankees got competent work from Chris Martin (one inning, one earned run allowed) and Chase Whitley (three innings, three hits, no allowed runs) to nail down the victory. Even if Whitley doesn't make the team, I think he has proven that he's decent enough as far as depth goes out of Triple-A. He's made it this far, so it's possible the Yankees want him for a possible swing man/long relief role, but only time will tell.
Overall, this was a nice game for the Yankees on both fronts. They got some offensive production from Refsnyder, A-Rod, Gardner, and Pirela, and they got two solid pitching performances from Warren and Whitley. Blowouts mean nothing in March, but they certainly can't hurt.
The Yankees will play tomorrow afternoon against the Houston Astros as "Big Mike" Michael Pineda will take on Dallas Keuchel. Unfortunately and nonsensically, this game will not be televised, but you can catch it on the Astros' radio network KBME at 1 PM EST.