Jordan Montgomery headlined a very strong pitching performance on Sunday afternoon in Tampa, with six pitchers combining to allow just nine baserunners against nine strikeouts in a 4-0 win over the Phillies. Apparently, the Yankees have adopted a Sunday Stripes motif for this spring, wearing their traditional home pinstripes for Sunday home games in lieu of their usual spring blues.
Monty worked three innings — 42 pitches — and touched 94 with his fastball. Critically for his approach, he engineered as many batted balls below 80 mph off the bat as he did balls above 95 mph, a good sign for his continued soft-contact skills.
Jonathan Loáisiga also impressed, striking out two in two innings. He threw four pitches — a four seam, sinker, change, and curve — and only managed to induce whiffs on the changeup. Obviously it’s spring, caveat caveat, but perhaps this belies some trouble with his stuff going forward.
On the other side of the ball, it’s funny that, when I first saw the lineup, I thought we just might see this exact top six on Opening Day, and then the only runs of the game came from the bottom third. After a Gleyber Torres walk leading off the second, Gary Sánchez and Miguel Andújar both hit singles to right field, and Brett Gardner staked his claim for regular playing time:
GRAND SLAM GARDY PARTY. pic.twitter.com/yi2s37M97Z— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 7, 2021
I’ve been public about my fear that Gardy will take away playing time from an objectively better player in Clint Frazier, and was just texting a friend that I’m worried the bases-loaded, Gardy-at-the-plate thing would happen too much in 2021. But I was happy to be proven wrong in at least that at-bat, and hopeful that Gardner can stay in a solid bench role for the season.
There are few things that I enjoy about this job more than dunking on the New York Post, pretty reliably among the dumbest take-generators in the media. Last week, after Giancarlo Stanton’s first two ABs of spring, they ran a story about how he wasn’t worrying about a “slow start.” Well, Stanton had two doubles, both coming off the bat at over 109 mph, so I wonder if we’ll see a headline tomorrow from the Post that Stanton is encouraged by his “hot start” to spring.
We won’t see the Yankees on television until Wednesday, as they’re off tomorrow and take on the Tigers on a radio-only matchup Tuesday afternoon, with a 1:05pm Eastern start time.