They may have to play some regular season games here, but the Yankees’ trip to Dunedin today was purely an exhibition match. That was apparent in the lineup that they brought over, and for eight innings it lived up to expectations — there wasn’t much of anything going on for the bats.
Things changed in a hurry in the ninth, however. Down a run and in danger of getting shut out, the Bombers got their first six batters on base to start the inning. CJ Van Eyk completely lost the strike zone, walking three straight batters to give over the tying and winning runs. Anthony Castro didn’t do him any favors after he came in to relieve him, surrendering a double to Max McDowell that cleared the bases.
The road trip naturally didn’t carry many players that are favored to make the Opening Day roster, but the results were still pretty poor before the final frame. Luke Voit and Clint Frazier were the only regulars that made the journey, and they combined to go 1-for-5 with a walk. Mike Tauchman has to play catchup to prevent Jay Bruce from taking his roster spot, and he marginally outperformed him today by getting a single while Bruce struck out twice. Tyler Wade hasn’t done much to hold off challengers for his spot either, but Derek Dietrich continued to struggle today — he struck out in all three of his at-bats.
On the other side of the coin, the Yankees’ pitching matched the Blue Jays in putting up plenty of goose eggs. Deivi García got the start and tossed a solid three innings, allowing just an unearned run thanks to a throwing error from Greg Allen. García handed out a pair of walks but just a single hit over his outing, continuing to build his résumé for a spot in the starting rotation.
Once García’s day was over, a chain of relievers kept the game within reach. Lucas Luetge continued his impressive spring with a clean inning of work, and the left-hander has been rising in standing since Zack Britton went down with injury. He’s worked his way into the conversation for a spot in the ‘pen, at least to start the season. Asher Wojciechowski has had an awful spring, but he managed to get through two scoreless innings this time around. The trio of Nick Nelson, Nick Goody, and Glenn Otto combined to close out the final three frames flawlessly.
Tomorrow the Yankees will head back to Tampa to take on the Phillies in a nighttime contest. First pitch will be at 6:35 p.m. EST, and will be back on YES as well.