I write this from section 117 of George M. Steinbrenner Field, my body recovering from an endorphine rush triggered by seeing a lineup with Aaron Judge batting ahead of Giancarlo Stanton in real life. I’d like to be able to recap the first inning, but the whole thing is kind of a blur. I’m told the Yankees scored twice. The duo of Judge and Stanton played a fittingly huge role in Saturday’s Grapefruit League matchup, reaching base five times combined.
It’s been written, and gushed, about before, but it’s hard to overstate the advantage of batting two MVP-caliber hitters back to back. There are arguments for breaking up the righty-righty pair, sure, but I can’t imagine a better scenario for the 2018 Yankees than Stanton behind Judge for 150 games. The third inning today highlighted this, as Brett Gardner was held at third following Aaron Judge’s double. Gardy probably could have tried for home, but with Stanton due up, it makes too much strategic sense to transfer all the risk to the pitching team.
Of course, Judge and Stanton later proved the value of keeping them in the order together even further. We know that Judge walks a lot, and Stanton hits the ball very, VERY hard, and the fifth inning gave us a look at the potential of those skillsets.
A scary moment came for the Yankees as Tyler Wade left the game in the sixth after rolling wrist. The number one rule of spring training is to leave camp with everyone healthy, and the Yankees have mostly been fortunate with regards to player health. Bryan Hoch reported that Wade should be good for Monday’s game, and here’s hoping he’s alright.
Lastly, this is my first time at Yankee spring training, so I was unaware the team plays the same tired Kate Smith that they do in the regular season. The Yankees are going to play God Bless America in the seventh inning stretch forever, yet I couldn’t help but think spring training is a golden opportunity for the organization to try something new with the tradition.
Spring training IS a time to see young talent, after all, and it’d be well worth the team’s time in my opinion to allow talented, young unknown singers to perform God Bless America in lieu of that old Kate Smith. It’d inject some badly needed life into what can often be a drag of late spring training games, and in today’s case would come on the heels of an outstanding national anthem performance from a local elementary student.
The offense will look to keep rolling Sunday against the Marlins. You can catch the game at 1:05 pm EDT, no television feed but the game will be broadcast on WFAN.