A combined eight Phillies pitchers held the Yankees to only four hits today as New York went down, 5-3, in Clearwater this afternoon. With a lineup almost entirely devoid of starters, most Yankees hopefuls were unable to produce and didn’t do much to improve their chances of heading north next week with the big squad. Frankly, the biggest positive that can be taken from today’s tilt is that it didn’t count in the standings.
Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon cruised through the first two innings in six up, six down fashion with two strikeouts. Although it appeared that he was struggling with the command of the breaking balls, his fastball was located well and consistently sat at 93 mph on the gun.
Some misfortune caught up to Taillon in the bottom of the third inning as Philadelphia’s Jean Segura led off the frame with what appeared to be a very high, but rather routine fly ball to left field. However, with a storm brewing in Clearwater (literally and figuratively) the ball was carried by a very strong wind and landed far over the left-field wall, breaking a scoreless tie and giving the Phils a 1-0 lead.
Jean Segura really does it all pic.twitter.com/hnGD7KZxCG— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 31, 2022
Taillon couldn’t blame bad luck for what came next after Segura’s long ball though, as the Phillies would tack on two more in the inning. Line drive hits from Bryson Stott and Mickey Moniak, a walk to Kyle Schwarber and an RBI single from Nick Castellanos plated two, putting the Yankees in a 3-0 hole after three.
Taillon would get the first two batters in the fourth inning, before giving way to Wandy Peralta. It’s hard to call an outing of 3.2 innings with 3 runs allowed “good,” but Taillon was far from “bad” today. He showed fine command with the fastball and other than a three-batter stretch in the third, kept Phillies hitters off balance for the most part.
After Peralta held Philadelphia scoreless, Michael King came in for the Yankees to start the fifth inning, and things didn’t exactly go according to plan. With one out, Rhys Hoskins singled and reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper followed that with a laser over the right-field wall for a home run. Even though the wind was blowing from right to left field, Harper’s shot left the bat at 112.8 mph with a 23-degree launch angle, so someone was getting a souvenir despite the wind blowing in the other direction. When it landed in the grass beyond the right-field wall, the Yankees were down 5-0.
The Yankees’ offense entered the seventh inning having managed only two hits to that point, and one of them was a windblown ground-rule double from Marwin Gonzalez. To their benefit, Phillies reliever Dillon Maples was in a giving mood this afternoon. Maples strung together two walks, a wild pitch, a passed ball, and a throwing error on a pickoff attempt to get the Yankees going. Those gifts combined with two ground ball outs plated the Yankees two runs – all without the benefit of a hit. Regardless of the optical migraine, the Yankees had cut the deficit to 5-2.
In the top of the eighth, the Yankees made a little bit of noise, again with some good fortune. When catcher Rob Brantly’s ground ball with an exit velocity of 46.8 stopped rolling between the pitching mound and Phillies shortstop Yairo Muñoz, the Yankees had their leadoff runner on. It initially seemed like he’d be stranded after two consecutive outs, but Miguel Andújar — the lineup’s only bright spot today –- came through with his second hit, this one a double to deep left-center field. When Brantly crossed the plate, the Yankees only trailed by two runs.
Sadly, but rather expectedly, that’s where the deficit stayed, as the Yankees went down to the Phillies, with the final score of 5-3. It’s hard to overstate how poor the Yankees were in the batter’s box today (outside of Andújar) but consider that they only hit one ball with an exit velocity of 100 mph or better in the game – a ground ball from Philip Evans, which was turned into a double play.
Hopefully, the jokes are out of the Yankees’ system as they’ll try again tomorrow on the first day of April against the Tigers at Joker Marchant. The first pitch will be at 1:05 pm ET with Gerrit Cole scheduled to make his final exhibition start.