With their A-team on the field, the Yankees far outclassed the opposing Orioles en route to an easy 7-1 win. The starters found the power stroke launching a barrage of home runs on Wednesday night. Deivi García and Luis Gil pitched a pair of brilliant innings each and the bullpen was lockdown minus a minor blip in the sixth.
I might be the low man on staff when it comes to expectations for García; however, I’ll freely admit that I was impressed with what I saw from the 22-year-old tonight. As I touched on in the game thread, García was set back almost to square one when the Yankees minor league pitching coaches advised him to lower his arm slot after determining his delivery had become too rotational. This mechanical change had disastrous effects for the young righty. García lost several miles per hour off his fastball as well as all the rise that made the pitch so deceptive at the top and bottom edges of the zone, and his best pitch — the curveball — flattened out losing spin and depth.
According to the Post article linked above, García has been working with pitching coach Matt Blake to reinstall his old over-the-top delivery, and I think we saw the first signs of his effectiveness creeping back last night. The fastball averaged around 95 topping out at 96 and displayed nice late riding life. His slider had a ton of depth and he was able to locate it both for strikes and off the plate to induce whiffs. He threw 27 pitches across two innings, giving up a hit and striking out Trey Mancini in the first:
There’s still a long road back as García tries to rediscover the form that made him a top prospect, but today is a solid step in the right direction.
The big news looming over this game relates to Aaron Judge and his contract situation. He and the Yankees are heading to arbitration with the sides roughly $4 million apart on his 2021 salary, but the more important question is that of a long-term extension. He has repeatedly signaled his desire to remain a Yankee for life, and reports have indicated the Yankees will tender an extension offer to their star right fielder in the coming days. That said, if the two sides cannot reach an agreement before Opening Day, Judge maintains that he will not revisit talks until after the season is over.
To Judge’s credit, he has not let any of this outside noise become a distraction, and laced a first inning one-out double off the right field wall for the Yankees’ first hit of the night.
PSA No. 4 prospect Luis Gil entered in the third and was pumping gas right out of the gates. He got into a spot of bother in the fourth, walking Ryan Mountcastle and giving up an Austin Hays double to put runners on second and third. However, he snuck out of the inning unscathed thanks to a Joey Gallo diving catch to rob Jorge Mateo of multiple RBI:
Gil’s fastball sat 96-97 and the slider featured nice shape, if inconsistent location at times. He threw 37 pitches in two innings, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out a pair.
The Yankees opened the scoring in the fourth in unique fashion. Gallo led off with a popup double that old friend Rougned Odor — shifted to shallow right — inexplicably let drop. Following a Giancarlo Stanton single, Aaron Hicks drove Gallo home with a sac fly to center before new dad Gleyber Torres stayed on a 1-2 fastball, lifting a towering opposite-field home run to right to make it 3-0, Yankees.
The offense really blew this one open in the following inning. DJ LeMahieu led off by pulling a 1-2 hanging slider for a no-doubter home run that cleared the concourse in left field. Success for the Yankees this season relies heavily on bounce-back campaigns from him and Torres, so it was encouraging to see the pair homer tonight.
Gallo singled to right for his second hit of the night and was brought home on a missile two-run home run to right from Stanton on an 0-1 elevated heater. The laser beam was clocked at 107.4 mph and was projected to travel 387 feet.
By the time the dust settled, it was 6-0 Yankees with basically all of the Yankees starters contributing in one form or another at the plate. They added a seventh run in the sixth on a pair of leadoff singles from Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, an Oswaldo Cabrera walk, and a Tim Locastro sac fly.
Chad Green, Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, and Lucas Luetge combined to cover the fifth through eighth, throwing an inning each. The Orioles scored their lone run of the game in the sixth off Peralta with a procession of one-out singles by Mancini, Hays, and Odor. The Yankees had their starters off the field by the seventh, as the final innings wound down quietly to a 7-1 finish.
It was nice to see all phases of the game clicking for the Yankees tonight. They head to Lakeland to face the Tigers for the second time this spring. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET with MLB.com carrying the Tigers’ feed and radio broadcast, so be sure to join us in the game thread.