Another day, another Yankee game that inexplicably cannot be seen anywhere on TV. No matter, armed with a radio broadcast and a Statcast feed, we can still follow the events, and today, the Yankees tripped ahead of the finish line, blowing a late lead in a 6-5 loss to the Tigers.
The headline is Deivi García’s excellent performance. He faced the minimum across three innings, as a pair of softly struck singles were erased with two double plays. His fastball clocked in noticeably harder compared to last season, touching 95 mph and sitting 93-94, and he generated a handful of swings and misses en route to five strikeouts.
The young right-hander left the game with a lead thanks to Jay Bruce, whose two-run homer in the second inning opened the scoring:
Jay Bruce - New York Yankees (2)* pic.twitter.com/gLeG0sujh2— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) March 9, 2021
That was Bruce's second dinger of the spring session. He entered camp as an underdog to squeeze onto the Opening Day roster, but if he keeps homering a couple times a week, he'll put together a compelling case.
The Yankees fumbled their first lead thanks to Luis Cessa. Cessa issued a walk to start off the bottom of the fourth, Jeimer Candelerio singled, and infield prospect Willi Castro went deep to put Detroit up 3-2. Perhaps most concerning was Clint Frazier's adventure in left, as he was shaken up after colliding with the wall chasing Castro's long ball, though he remained in the game. We’d all hoped Frazier, for the sake of his own health, had left his adversarial relationship with fences in 2019, but it appears he may still have some issues to work through with the structure that stands at his back.
The Tigers’ advantage didn’t last long, as Gary Sánchez quickly smashed the Yankees back into the lead with a fifth-inning, two-run blast:
Gary Sánchez absolutely demolished a solo home run halfway up the light tower in left field pic.twitter.com/M7OBHcfhmw— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) March 9, 2021
That’s Sánchez’s third spring training homer, and the second time he’s punished Tigers pitching with an absolutely towering shot. Sánchez’s pure power has never been in question, but it sure does feel a little reassuring to see him hitting these bombs in spring rather than looking lost.
Nick Nelson handled two smooth innings in relief of Cessa, but Luis Garcia failed to hold things together in the eighth. The right-hander suffered through a tough third of an inning, yielding two hits and a walk while recording just one out. Tyler Lyons came and had a chance to escape the frame with the game tied at five, but a wild pitch pushed across what was ultimately a winning run. The Yankees failed to rally in the ninth, succumbing 1-2-3 to lefty Ian Krol.
The team will be back in action tomorrow night, with a 6:35 EST start in Tampa against the Pirates. This one thankfully will be on TV, with the YES Network and MLB.tv both carrying the game. Domingo Germán is lined up to pitch, but we’ll see who ends up getting their work in.