Minor league signing Scott Baker made his first Yankee start today and it could have gone better. He allowed the first five Astros he faced to reach base, conceding three runs and six hits in his only inning of work. He did have a pair of strikeouts. There weren't speed gun numbers available, so we don't have velocity figures on the Baker fastball, but PSA member DOMM00RE who was at the game was not positive on Baker's pitching performance. Hopefully his next game is a little sharper.
The rest of the game involved several candidates for the final bullpen spot coming out of spring, and perhaps callups later in the year. Danny Burawa had a little trouble with control, walking two Astros in his only inning, but with the help of a double play kept it scoreless. Jose De Paula pitched two scoreless innings of his own, helped out by some nifty defense by Stephen Drew that John Sterling was very positive about on his radio broadcast. Nick Rumbelow was spotless in the fifth but was chased out of the sixth inning after giving up a pair of hits and a run. Tyler Webb came in and loaded the bases but got out of it with no further damage. Kyle Davies and Caleb Cotham added '0's to the scoreboard to close out the game.
The Yankee offense was kept quiet through the first five innings, facing the better pitchers that the Astros sent out on the day, but Ramon Flores lead off the sixth inning with a homerun to break the shutout. Jake Cave added another solo shot to open the eighth inning to make it 4-2 Astros. A Nick Noonan double and Jose Pirela triple made it a one run game with a runner on third and nobody out. A Robert Refsnyder strikeout and Gregory Bird groundout that saw Pirela gunned down at home effectively ended the threat.
The Yankees trailed by one heading into the ninth, but erupted for six runs in the top of the ninth. After loading the bases, aided by a misfield by the Astros, Noonan walked to tie the game before Rob Refsnyder singled in two runs to put the Yankees up. A balk made it 7-4 Yankees before Greg Bird hit a 400+ foot home run into deep right center. An exciting end to the game, though it might have been better if we could watch the end.
It was interesting to hear Joe Girardi gush about the young players on the field today, when he was a guest on the WFAN broadcast in the sixth inning, and then to see those players like Bird, Refsnyder and Pirela deliver on the manager's words with big hits late in the game. Hopefully it continues to add to their confidence, and we get to see these players come through for the Yankees in the future when the games count.
The Yankees host Washington tomorrow, at 1:05 ET - public service announcement, the clocks move forward tonight in the USA, worth noting if you are in another timezone as well. For those missing watching the Yankees on TV, good news, it will be televised on the YES Network. Adam Warren will take the ball for the Yankees and Doug Fister gets the start for the Nationals.