I said in the game thread that today’s lineup and scheduled pitchers were clearly designed to take the load off the Yankees’ big guns, with real baseball approaching and star players being hurt all over spring training. That strategy is not commutable to winning very often, and the Yankees are lucky this game didn’t matter, because the Tampa Bay Rays exploded for 11 runs off a mostly minor-league pitching staff.
I listened to the Rays’ radio feed for most of the game rather than watching it, Sunday errands and all. The commentators remarked in the early innings that the Rays were looking to generate more contact, have better baserunners and not rely so much on the home run in 2018. You certainly wouldn’t know that from today’s game, as Tampa knocked six balls out of the park, including two innings with multiple dongs.
Brian Keller spent his time in 2017 in Charleston and Tampa, and certainly showed up in his previous spring training appearance. Today, not much good came from the young righty, with his best moment being a pretty nifty defensive play:
That was about it for positives from the Yankees today.
Offensively, the team hit about as well as it pitched. Four players in the starting lineup could reasonably be expected to break camp with the major league club, and they went a combined 1 for 8 - great work Tyler Wade! Tyler Austin figures to also see time in the majors, depending on Greg Bird’s status, and he chipped in today with an 0-2. Nobody hit, is what I’m saying.
Well, nobody but a Mr. Trey Amburgey, who went 2-2 and drove in the only run for the Yankees — in the ninth inning no less. Now, if you’re like me, when you heard that name during the broadcast, you had no idea who was being talked about. Now you know that Trey is a 23-year-old outfielder who spent last season in High-A ball. Spring training anoints unknown heroes every day.
Real baseball is just around the corner, Yankees fans. We have to make it through one more exhibition contest, tomorrow against the Atlanta Braves. It’ll be a night game with a 7:35pm EDT start, with Sonny Gray expected to toe the hill. See you then.