There may not have been any way to see them, but the Yankees sent out a fairly strong starting lineup against the Tigers on Tuesday. Aside from third-string catcher Rob Brantly, every hitter is either a lock for the Opening Day roster (assuming no injuries), or is fighting for one of the last spots.
The stacked lineup delivered, scoring six runs in the first five innings. Clint Frazier had an especially big day, going 3-for-3 with two RBI. That was more than enough for a 7-4 win, as the Yankees won their seventh straight spring training game.
In the first inning, Luke Voit was hit by a pitch and then driven home by a Frazier single. More on him in a bit. By the third, the Yankees had fallen behind, 2-1. Voit, Aaron Hicks, and Frazier then loaded the bases, at which point Tigers starter Michael Fulmer lost the plot a bit. He walked Gio Urshela on five pitches and then hit Derek Dietrich, plating two runs.
The Yankees’ starters tacked on three more runs in the fifth. It started when Frazier came to the plate for his third at-bat of the day. Just listen to what he did:
It was a 425-foot dinger to cap off his impressive day. Mike Tauchman added two more runs with a homer of his own. The reserves tacked one more run in the ninth when Thairo Estrada hit an RBI single.
On the pitching side of the ball, Gerrit Cole was given the start for the Yankees. In 2020, he had a good season, with his only real flaw being his occasional run-ins with the long ball. It was a pretty similar case today.
Cole allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in 3.2 innings. The two runs came on two solo home runs by Renato Núñez and JaCoby Jones. Other than those homers, he seemed to be fairly sharp, striking out five and throwing 40 of 61 pitches for strikes.
Gerrit Cole follows 99 mph by pulling the string at 89 mph. Strikeout of Akil Baddoo: pic.twitter.com/hnAKSPMali— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 16, 2021
In relief of Cole, Jonathan Loaisiga threw 2.2 hitless innings, with two walks and two strikeouts. Luis Cessa followed him and allowed a home run in 1.1 innings of work. Tyler Lyons retired both batters he faced, and the Tigers picked up one run off Kyle Barraclough before the game ended. On the whole, it was a mostly good day for the pitchers who will likely matter in 2021.
The most interesting performances among the reserves came from 2018 second-round draft pick Josh Breaux, who drew two walks. Tyler Wade was the only player to play the full day (splitting time between second and left field), and with Urshela proving to also be competent at shortstop, Wade didn’t do much to help his Opening Day roster candidacy by going hitless.
Tomorrow is unfortunately another untelevised day, as the Yankees will take on the Blue Jays on the road. Jordan Montgomery is expected to get the start.