I hope, if you watched today’s game, you got to experience the joy of a BOTSO booth, featuring highlights like “The Yankees have the 2 biggest bats in terms of physical bigness in baseball”, and “I have to apologize, Castro is from Venezuela, not Caracas”. Signature performance from the boys in the booth. Regardless of how you felt about the broadcast, the game itself was a mostly good showing from all sides of the roster, as the Yankees topped the Blue Jays 8-3.
The top half of the Yankee lineup was pretty stacked, and they showed off in the first inning. After Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks reached on a single and walk respectively, Luke Voit and Clint Frazier traded doubles to put the Yankees up 3-0. Both hits came on mistakes — a four-seam to Voit center-cut, and a cutter that failed to cut away from Frazier. Good to see the good hitters hit good. Derek Dietrich followed with an RBI single, and Jays starter Tanner Roark was pulled before making it through an inning.
Roark then came back for the second inning, which I didn’t know was allowed but hey, fake baseball. Tyler Wade jacked a double at 106.3 mph, the second hardest hit ball of his life — including playoffs, spring training, and regular season. Roark was brought back out to get his pitch count up, but if Tyler Wade is seeing you that well, you should maybe finish your day in a bullpen session. Thairo Estrada added a long, three-run bomb in the third, also off Roark, giving both the starters and the expected reservists some decent production on the day.
Pitching wise...wow. I said in the gamethread that Gerrit Cole hadn’t quite looked Cole-ish this spring, and he answered some of those concerns today. After a shaky first inning — I thought the leadoff flyout from George Springer was going to leave the park — both pitchers complained about a wet mound, and from there, Cole was on autopilot.
He struck out the side in the third, then the next two batters — Bo Bichette and Vlad Guerrero Jr. — in the fourth struck out and weakly grounded out. All told, Cole’s final line for the day was 5 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 8 K, and even the home run he allowed to Marcus Semien wasn’t a mistake, but a piece of good, or lucky, hitting:
That pitch is 97 mph at the letters, and Semien was able to speed the bat up and make good contact on it. Semien is a great hitter, to be sure, but if Cole lives up there full time, he’s going to have a lot of success.
Asher Wojciechoski had himself a good afternoon as well, striking out three men on 23 pitches. Unfortunately, he came up grimacing after a pitch, grasping at his ribcage and was taken out of the game. The Yankees are already down Zack Britton and Clarke Schmidt to start the season, moving every other reliever up a slot in importance. Fingers crossed that Asher isn’t sidelined for very long.
Lucas Luetge came in midway through the seventh after Woj’s injury, and had his worst outing of spring. Two long home runs, one to Teoscar Hernández and the other to Kevin Smith highlighted some of the issues Luetge could have facing righties in greater sample sizes.
The last full week of spring training starts tomorrow, with the Yankees taking on the Phillies at 6:35pm eastern. The game will be broadcast on YES, with John Sterling and Michael Kay once again on the call.